New subscription service brings Norfolk's finest beers and fancy snacks to your door
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A new subscription service showcasing the very best Norfolk-made brews is to launch this month.
The Norfolk Food and Drink Beer Club is run by Hunstanton-based Mark and Rosie Kacary, and promises to take customers on a “beer adventure”, bringing Norfolk craft beers to their doors, along with fancy nibbles and tasting notes.
The new venture is the latest in a range of Norfolk Food and Drink Club subscriptions run by the husband and wife duo, with the first deliveries set to go out on the road in February.
“I was looking at how we could support our suppliers better,” Mark explains. “We sell quite a lot of beer, spirits and wine and we do hampers throughout the year.
“We noticed that one of our popular gifts at Christmas is the Norfolk Hops Hamper, which is basically a hamper just full of beers, and it was ordered a number of times. That in itself suggested to me that the opportunity to give people a kind of Norfolk tour of craft breweries would be something they would like.
Of course, gift hampers aren’t a new concept, but Mark and Rosie still saw what they thought was a gap in the market and decided to add a new strand to their existing business.
“When you look at the market as a whole, there's the Craft Gin Club and the Sunday Times Wine Club, so things like this are already in existence and they're popular. What we're doing is copying a model, but we're making it Norfolk orientated and Norfolk focussed.
“Everyone else focuses on the fact that you can get a beer or wine from anywhere in the world. What we're saying is, ‘We're the Norfolk Deli, we focus on Norfolk produce'. I think we support Norfolk producers more than anyone else.
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"We pick, work with and sell purely Norfolk produce. It’s only Norfolk beers that will be sent out, it's only Norfolk wines, it's only Norfolk whiskey, vodka, rums and gins. We’re not looking to find some cheap alternative from elsewhere. "
There are a number of different subscriptions supporting a range of the county’s breweries. Customers will see guest breweries introduced too.
“For the first one we've got two from Wildcraft Brewery, two from Duration and two from Moon Gazer,” says Mark. “The following month we'll have two from Barsham and two from two other local suppliers.
"People have the opportunity to subscribe on a month by month basis or they can get a delivery bimonthly, quarterly or half-yearly."
Understandably, Mark is hopeful the new strand will prove to be a success, and encouragingly received a handful of orders very quickly. “I created the website and emailed our subscribing customers who I knew had bought beer over the last year," he said. "The first mailer went out and we had a handful of orders within 24 hours."
So, who might this new offering appeal to? “I don't think there'll be a 'typical customer'. This is for people who have a particular liking for beer, or they know somebody who has, and wish to buy them a special present, something that keeps giving over the course of several months or however long they want subscribe for.
"It could be someone's mother who wants to buy it for their son, who lives away from home, who likes his beer and visits the pub when he’s back in Norfolk. It could be someone’s wife or husband. Or it could be somebody who wants to try lots of different beers, who wants to have a bit of a beer adventure during the year, and who buys it for themselves. It's a very wide spectrum of people."
Now, we're not all experts, but panic not - accompanying your hamper of Norfolk's top tipples are some explanatory tasting notes which explain the brewery your beer comes from, the type of beer it is, information about the hops and what the tastes and flavours are.
In each hamper is also bag of nibbles, designed to be the perfect pairing. So, how does Mark match the perfect snack with the relevant drink? "Experience!" he chuckles. "We have access to some of the fanciest snack foods on the market, and we aim to always bring our members something fabulous. It could be nuts or crisps, but it's nothing you'd find in a supermarket. Once a product gets into a supermarket we stop selling it."
Norfolk Deli's hamper business combines the traditional offerings of a standard basket of goodies - a beautiful selection from their deli; cheese, biscuits, olives and charcuterie meats - with other more imaginative picks including Love from the Dog, "The gift man's best friend would give their owner". This serves up Binham Blue cheese, olives, nuts and even includes handmade biscuits for your furry family member.
Or in case you're wondering what to buy that special person for a Valentine's gift, there's always the Ooooh Saucy Norfolk Hamper, a selection which includes steak and barbecue sauces, and the Truffling With My Love Hamper, guaranteed to set the mood with oils, crisps and other truffly-good local produce.
In between designing, packing and shipping hampers, Mark and Rosie run the Norfolk Deli. It's based in Hunstanton and has just celebrated its eighth birthday. They own the Norfolk Deli Cafe three doors down too, and on top of that, run a food and drink website which, they say, sells and ships more Norfolk products across the UK than anyone else in the county.
Geography is no obstacle. Over the years they’ve shipped products as far north as Aberdeenshire and as far south as Cornwall, while taking orders from customers around the world, from the likes of Malaysia, New Zealand, Italy, Germany and France
For more information about the Norfolk Food and Drink Beer Club visit norfolk-deli.co.uk