Here at The Red Lion, and across each of our sister pubs, we live by the Red Mist values and ethos of sourcing and serving local, fresh and seasonal produce to our customers, which sits at the core to our success as an independent pub and dining operator. As the fashions for local food miles and championing local suppliers continues to grow in popularity, we thought you’d be keen for us to turn the spotlight onto our own team of award-winning local suppliers and to learn about their journey and route to success.
Made For Drink is a company that is so ‘up and coming’, with the nicest success story that if you haven’t already tried their snacks in our pub… you will be ordering some of their snacks after reading this!
Daniel Featherstone from Twyford, Berkshire setup Made For Drink back in May 2016, aged just 36, after realising there lay a huge gap in the market for bar snacks, he says:
When you walk into any decent pub you see the craft beers, boutique spirits and interesting wines on offer are boundless, all presented beautifully and served by somebody who really cares about their profession. Yet, when it came to snacks, why was there still just a pack of dusty crisps served from a cut-out cardboard box? (not that you’d see this at The Red Lion of course!). The consumer of today has much more of a sophisticated palate and so I set to work at creating a product to fill that gap and looked to other countrie’s drinking cultures to uncover interesting, specialist foods that go brilliantly with a drink.
His objective was clear, to source only the finest ingredients to create a snack that:
- Must be delicious – Made For Drink strive to create mouth-watering bites that bring out the best in your drink of choice. No preservatives or additives are added, just the natural flavourings brought out through a slow and natural cooking process.
- Must be authentic – Their products tap into a rich world of tasty inspiration, specially sourced to champion the cultures that inspire them
- Must feel special – Daniel and his team track down quality ingredients from passionate artisan producers and prepare them simply to preserve their intense natural flavour
The back of every product packet pays homage to where the highest in quality ingredients, such as their out-of-this-world Duck Fritons, are sourced. The team use nothing but the tiniest of sea salt to flavour their products, but it’s all about the cooking process that makes these melt-in-the-mouth delights so incredible. They source all their duck skin from award-winning Creedy Carver (who appeared on Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night show); a family-run 82-acre farm situated in the beautiful Devonshire countryside, just outside of Crediton and about 7 miles from Exeter. The family farm pride themselves on producing top quality chickens and ducks that give the true flavour of the product, whilst maintaining a very sympathetic approach to additive-free poultry production and bird welfare. Duck Fritons are the perfect serve to a refreshing pint of IPA.
Within a year, having built up some incredible relationships who have helped him fine-tune his product range to what they are today, including valuable feedback and guidance from the GM and Head Chef behind Heston Blumenthal’s pubs; Made For Drink now has contracts with not only Heston Blumenthal’s pubs, but also Rick Stein’s pub and deli in Padstow and all Red Mist Leisure pubs across Hampshire and Surrey. His products also became the most successful new product launch EVER at luxury department store Fortnum & Mason and, as we write this, the products are about to be launched and stocked in 40 Waitrose stores.
It wasn’t an easy journey for Daniel, who set the business up whilst having a family of 3 young kids, but his wife and family were of immense support and were often the ones up until all hours packaging and labelling up the products in their dining room; as the house was slowly being taken over with Made For Drink products and packaging. Daniel’s family would travel up from Devon every Thursday afternoon to help him scrub down their local village hall, to within an inch of its life, before then spending all Friday, Saturday and Sunday baking products to order. They knew Daniel had created a product that was unique and special that the sweat, tears (and miles driven) were worth it!
Late last year, with a new partner on board invested in the business to assist in driving the business forward, the business took on new premises allowing them to bake every day, focus on new product development as well as keeping ahead of orders. The kitchens and warehouse are housed downstairs, whilst the administrative, sales and marketing teams sit upstairs. Made for Drink is now a proud team of 7 who are all incredibly passionate about what they do, including Dan’s brother Mike who was a master brewer for Brewdog, who is one of the key powers within the kitchen, alongside Duncan and Head Chef James. The team have some lovely values to which remain core to their business, including their Friday tradition of ‘breaking the bread’ together over lunch. Dan heads out to their (incredible) local deli, Marios, to get a big selection of antipasti and bread so they can ‘break the bread’ and catch up over their week, coming up with new ideas, discussing any issues, opportunities…and life in general! Made For Drink believes in the creation of happiness and fulfilment, in particular, that a shared love of good food and drink has an amazing ability to bring people together in a very special way that feels ever more few and far between in today’s busy, modern lifestyle.
We are incredibly proud to be one of the first suppliers to take on Made For Drink products and are already awaiting the highly anticipated release of their latest product, Patacones, which is plantain that has been twice fried and smashed for a delicious, sweet snack an ideal and perfect serve for Rum or a crisp Cerveja! Next time you visit us and fancy giving these bar snacks a try, just ask Edina or a member of the team for a taster and they will be delighted to crack open a packet for you to sample (we promise, you WON’T be disappointed!).
Don’t forget, throughout the summer months, we are running our Sundown Happy Hour! Come and join us for a tipple (and snack!) every Monday – Friday between 5 pm – 6 pm to enjoy a selection of local drinks at reduced prices.