A new shop showcasing locally-produced food and drink is to open on Lerwick’s Commercial Street next month.
The Taste of Shetland Pop-Up is due to open on 1st May and will run until the end of the summer. The shop will be self-contained unit in Harry’s department store with its own access from the street.
Shetland Food and Drink (SFAD) chairwoman Marian Armitage said the project aims to “raise awareness of what’s available to buy across Shetland”. Viking Mead owner Alistair Morgan said the move would mean great “exposure” for growing businesses.
Viking Mead recently took up residence at Unst’s Valhalla Brewery, where they plan to continue producing Valhalla ales as well as expanding their mead.
The business currently sells one mead, Skald, but “doesn’t necessarily have an established outlet”. Mr Morgan said that having the product on sale at the pop-up shop, particularly at “this time of year when tourists and cruise ships are coming” would help to raise awareness.
“It’s going to be a great thing to get some exposure”, he said.
Ms Armitage hoped the venture would increase demand for products beyond the confines of the shop.
“With a venture like this, it is hoped greater demand will be created for every premises which sells locally-produced food”, she said.
The project has been sponsored by the Shetland Fish Producers’ Organisation, the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation and Seafood Shetland and will also see Living Lerwick’s Selina-May Miller and former North Isles tourism officer Kellie Naulls work alongside SFAD manager Jill Franklin as part-time co-ordinators.
Ms Franklin said: “This will be the first showcase of locally-produced food and drink on the street and we are eager to see the response. This project is essentially a pilot, to see what is possible on the street, and our sponsors were excited by the idea from day one.
“The pop-up has the opportunity to raise the profile of both local produce and the outlets from which it is available across Shetland. We will be aiming to create a vibrant customer experience, with changing produce and regular tastings, so that there are plenty of reasons for Shetland folk and visitors alike to come to visit us.”
Chief executive of the Shetland Fish Producers’ Organisation, Brian Isbister, said on behalf of the sponsors: “The food and drinks industry in Shetland is bigger than any other industry in these islands, exceeding the value of oil, gas, agriculture, and tourism combined. Despite that, there has been no showcase for locally-produced food and drink on Commercial Street.
“Shetland Food and Drink have made great progress since their launch in November and, as three of the biggest organisations in the industry, we are delighted to be supporting them with this project.”