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North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

Expansion is recipe for success for North East food and drink retailer


May 22, 2017

A North East artisan food and drink retailer, which sources products from around the world and has amassed a following across the UK and beyond, is targeting expansion through its move into bigger headquarters and the launch of its online shop.

Mmm…glug…was established in Newcastle in 2008 and has grown into one of the most highly-esteemed independent food and drink brands of its kind, attracting customers from across the country and earning name-checks in books by celebrity chefs including Thomasina Miers.

The business, based in the city’s Grainger Market, has earned fame in foodie circles for its commitment to sourcing the highest quality produce from suppliers around the world. It is now known for being the go-to place for the most unusual of ingredients, and has a loyal and sizeable following both among its customer base and on social media.

Run by Simone and Ian Clarkin, mmm…glug… – which started out in 2008 selling only food, adding its ‘glug’ drinks arm in 2012 – is now moving to a two-floor retail unit on nearby Grainger Street, which will allow it to have its own shop front on one of Newcastle’s busiest streets and dictate its own opening hours.

The move comes at a time of development for the business, as it introduces a ‘click and collect’ service for customers and is set to introduce mail order in the near future to allow it to look at international trade. Mmm…glug…has also launched a range of its own-label spice mixes and cooking ingredients.

Mmm…glug…has been built by passionate foodies Simone and Ian, who have assembled a five-strong team who share their love of quality food and drink. Simone’s background in sourcing fine food and wines from continental suppliers, coupled with Ian’s expertise in marketing – which has seen mmm…glug…named as one of the most influential independent businesses on Twitter – has proved a recipe for success for the business.

Simone said: “This is a very exciting time for us, moving into our own shop and having the freedom that comes with that is something we have wanted for some time. The Grainger Market has been a fantastic place to be, but we are delighted with the start of our new chapter.

“Our ethos is that we source high-quality food and drink from independent producers wherever they are in the world, and we strive to build long-term relationships with both our customers and suppliers. We do stock products from the North East, but not just because they are from this region – we source from Italy, France, America, we look across the whole world to get the quality we know our customers will want.”

Ian, who initially started out as ‘Saturday boy’ with mmm…glug…before joining his wife full time, said: “We have customers who come to us from as far afield as Liverpool and Manchester, sometimes even further, and through the launch of mail ordering in the near future we hope we will become accessible to people across the UK and even internationally.

“Our customers are fantastic and are the biggest advocates of what we do – Thomasina Miers first became aware of us when she remarked how difficult it was to find some cooking ingredients; one of our customers got in touch with her to tell her about us. Since then, she has mentioned us in her cookbooks and even held a book launch here.”

Mmm…glug…has been supported in its expansion by law firm Sintons, with Head of Licensing Sarah Smith and Laura Peace, Partner in the Real Estate team, both acting in the transaction.

Sarah Smith said: “Newcastle enjoys a reputation as a vibrant and diverse leisure venue which attracts people from across the whole UK, and mmm…glug…is another example of something special we have here which again puts the North East on a national scale.

“Its reputation for its quality and variety of produce is well known far beyond this region, and the platform it has created on social media has also helped it to stand out in the very competitive culinary marketplace.

“We wish Simone and Ian luck in their new home for mmm…glug…and every success as they continue to grow and develop the business.”

By Emily