My life in the grocery trade

Alastair Bell, owner/manager of The Irish Black Butter Company

Alastair Bell, owner/manager of The Irish Black Butter Company

WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE?

I am the owner manager of The Irish Black Butter Company, a new business specialising in savoury/sweet spread for retail and foodservice. The product is made from Armagh bramley apples, treacle, spices and a touch of brandy.

BRIEFLY OUTLINE YOUR EMPLOYMENT HISTORY TO DATE

Since graduating from the University of Ulster at Jordanstown, I have held various posts within the public sector ranging from finance to administration. In the private sector, I have worked in distribution, event management, vending and – more recently – running a niche farm model customisation business.

WHAT DOES YOUR ROLE INVOLVE?

At The Irish Black Butter Company, my role involves organising and managing stock, sales, distribution, marketing and finance. Added to these are content creation and dissemination on social media, and attending meetings and networking events. I also conduct sampling of Irish Black Butter at events.

WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB?

Best parts are meeting people, and introducing them to Irish Black Butter

– even more so when they give positive feedback and purchase or place orders.

Worst part – driving between calls and can’t find a decent tune on the radio.

BRIEFLY OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY

There is no typical day so far. There is variety from time spent at the computer or on the phone, organising calls, attending calls. Usually at some point most days, I will be engaging on social media to help drive awareness of Irish Black Butter and reinforce places where the product is available.

 

WHAT HAS BEEN THE PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE?

The arrival of the first pallet of Irish Black Butter jars and the first photo shoot at The Whiterocks when, coincidentally, I sold the first jar on the beach!

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING INVOLVED WITH THE LOCAL RETAIL INDUSTRY?

To date, I have benefitted from great advice and guidance. I have found people very helpful, offering pointers and showing a real willingness to help me at the start of this Irish Black Butter adventure.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK?

I like to sit down and put on a CD containing relaxing music and birdsong with the sound of stream water or waves lapping gently on some peaceful sunny beach. It’s great just to unwind and let the energy of the day slowly slip away and physically and mentally chill. I also like walking around the local coast, experiencing the beauty, energy and vastness of the sea and our surroundings.

TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NOT MANY PEOPLE MAY KNOW

I collect model tractors and organise model tractor shows. My interest in farming developed from early years on the family farm when I was interested in Corgi, Dinky and Britains tractors. This interest was rediscovered in adulthood when show models and limited-edition model tractors from Holland, Germany and the US were the catalyst for a hobby which led to organising the first model tractor show in Ireland and subsequently in running a niche farm model customisation business.

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