Culinary butter spreads its wings
A FOODIE entrepreneur from Co Fermanagh has joined forces with her former classmate to launch a new culinary butter.
Improper Butter, which is made in Ireland, will now be available to buy in shops in Northern Ireland.
The butters are made for adding flavour to foods, such as pasta or mashed potato.
Hannah O’reilly from Enniskillen and her friend Elaine Lavery from Dublin set up the business four years ago, and started bringing their product to farmers’ markets around Dublin.
The University College Dublin (UCD) graduates work full-time in the business.
The butters are made with fresh herbs and seasoning in Co Westmeath, then individually handwrapped and boxed.
Now the butter is being stocked in independent traders and symbol retailers — and butter-lovers will be able to buy the product in Northern Ireland Spar and Eurospar stores after the women reached a deal with Henderson Wholesale.
The stores will be stocking garlic Improper Butter, which is made with lemon zest and parsley, and a garlic and chilli butter.
The 27 year olds employ two people in the business, a sales manager and graphic designer.
The company recently secured €200,000 in new funding from backers including Des Traynor, co-founder of tech company Intercom.
Elaine’s father, Conall Lavery, founder of IT security company Entropy, has also backed the venture.
Elaine said she hopes to spread the word in Northern Ireland.
“We’d love to get into more independents in the north. We are aware of some of the foodie places like Sawyers and Arcadia, and we have a distributor (http://www. rowcliffe.co.uk) who can reach Northern Irish independents for any independent stockists who are interested.”
The pair will also address a Management and Leadership Summit in Titanic Belfast next month.
Elaine said the butters’ provenance was an important selling point. “As such, we have rigid sus- tainability measures and targets in our sourcing and production.
“As graduate entrepreneurs ourselves, we also work with second and third level students to promote graduate entrepreneurship as a viable career option.”
She said that despite graduating with a first class honours degree in business and law from UCD, she always hankered after a career in food.
Before finishing her undergraduate course, she took a gap year and cooked for guests at a ski chalet in the French Alps. Here she started to create garlic and herb butters to add flavour to her guests’ food — and the idea for Improper Butter was born.