Waterford’s enterprising initiatives in food and drink

Waterford Enterprise Board has long been an advocate of building small business enterprises in Waterford city. Through a wide range of programmes including clinics, courses, enterprise development assistance and funding Waterford City Enterprise Board has assisted 24 start ups this year alone.

With the success of the recent Harvest Food Festival Waterfordians could be forgiven for regarding Waterford as the new up and coming “foodie” capital of Ireland. The importance of producing and supplying high quality artisan food and beverages is recognised by Waterford City Enterprise Board, and as such has recently launched its Ideas in Food initiative.

The concept behind Ideas in Food is to encourage and assist individuals with a viable idea for the food industry. Two such examples of enterprising food and beverage producers that Waterford City Enterprise Board has worked with are Granny Maddocks Pantry and Metalman Brewing.

Granny Maddocks Pantry is the brainchild of Mary Doherty. The business named after Mary’s great grandmother Bridget Maddocks produces fresh gluten and wheat free cakes that look and taste like regular cakes. Mary became aware of the potential for the business as many of her friends and family were on gluten free diets and were restricted in their choice of cakes and pastries. All the baking is done in a total flour free environment and baked to order. Mary has plans to expand the range to savoury items in the future.

Another enterprise which has received assistance from Waterford City Enterprise Board is Metalman Brewing, a microbrewery currently under construction in Waterford city. Metalman Brewing was borne out of a love of beer but frustration at the lack of availability of authentic Irish beer.

Gráinne Walsh and Tim Barber produced their first beer, Metalman Pale Ale in March 2011. This beer was launched in both Waterford and Dublin and has been very well received.

“It’s still work in progress, but we’re finally getting there”, says Gráinne Walsh. “We’ve had a lot of support from different people along the way, including Waterford City Enterprise Board, who are helping us with financing some of the brewery equipment we need.”

According to Mr. Ciaran Cullen, Acting CEO, Waterford City Enterprise Board, Waterford has experienced a groundswell of interest in producing high quality, artisan food and drink.

“So far in 2011 the Waterford City Enterprise Board has assisted food producers with Measure 1 grants, which provides funding for equipment and production. We have also recently launched the Enterprising Food Network, which has 13 members. This network assists food producers and now restaurants and horticulture projects, in areas such as packaging, branding, route to market, distribution, marketing and business advice.”

“The Ideas in Food initiative gives those who are thinking of moving into or who are already in the food sector a sounding board for their ideas and concerns. The assistance ranges from advice and mentoring to product development and financial assistance.”

He added “Waterford has received some tough blows on the jobs front, but bit by bit these enterprising individuals collectively can give Waterford the boost it deserves.”

If you have an “Idea in Food” talk to the Waterford City Enterprise Board on 051 852883 or email info@waterfordceb.com