Our latest business focus feature takes a look at a unique shop in the centre of Kirkwall. Orkney Food and Drink member The Brig Larder offers a wide range of local products, showcasing the best Orkney has to offer.
Orkney has always been known for its quality food and drink. From fresh seafood to the best steaks; delicious cheese and chutneys to beer, wine and spirits to wash it all down with, Orkney has something to satisfy all tastes.
So, imagine if you could shop somewhere where all that – and more – is available under one roof.
That, in a nutshell, is the idea behind Kirkwall’s The Brig Larder. It’s a conglomeration of three local businesses, working together in the town centre to showcase the very best Orkney produce.
The Brig Larder opened its doors in 2014, bringing together established island companies Craigies Butchers, owned by Thorfinn Craigie, fishmongers Jollys of Orkney, run by George Stout, and wine, beer and spirits purveyors John Scott & Miller, jointly owned by Thorfinn and George.
‘It was actually local businessman Neil Stevenson that approached us about the idea,’ said George Stout, owner of Jollys of Orkney. ‘He had the perfect premises in the centre of Kirkwall and asked us if we would be interested. I always wanted to have a shop in the town and I know Thorfinn did too, so we set about trying to make it happen.’
The result has been a real success story. Spend five minutes in the shop and you’ll see local workers come in to buy a sandwich or salad bowl for their lunch, families stocking up on local butcher meat and fish for the week and visitors keen to sample Orkney products like cheese, oatcakes and beer.
‘The main concept was to have everything available under the one roof and to try and promote all the very best Orkney food and drink. The Orkney brand is crucial to what we’re trying to do here and bringing it all together just highlights to people what’s on offer in the islands,’ said George.
The Brig Larder brings a ‘food hall’ feel to Kirkwall – a smaller version of what you’d expect to find at the likes of the House of Bruar. It’s housed in one of the town’s most historic buildings, on the corner of Albert Street and Bridge Street, lending the shop its name. Inside there is beautiful wooden flooring and shelves, cupboards, chill cabinets and displays full of Orkney food and drink and more, a real treasure trove for the foodie!
‘Folk are really buying into local food and quality, artisan produce,’ said George. ‘It makes it easier for us to promote what’s on offer as the Orkney name has such a strong reputation.’
The next step is all about establishing The Brig Larder name locally and building brand awareness both in Orkney and further afield. Plans are in place for special events including tasting nights.
‘It’s still less than two years since we moved in so there is a lot of work to do yet,’ according to George. ‘We’ve got a few ideas but first and foremost it’s about maintaining what we have here and making sure that we offer what people want, and that’s good, high quality, local produce.’
As far as selling points go, it’s not a bad place to start.