When Crediton Confectionery was dissolved last year, the future for sweet making in Devon looked bleak. All that changed when the company came to the attention of the Paramount Retail Group (PRG) which promptly purchased the company’s plant and machinery assets and invited the redundant workforce to reapply for their jobs. It has also acquired the freehold of the site which will allow it to be developed further.
Just a little over six months later, the company has already benefited from over £600,000 worth of investment, with new flooring and machinery already in place. The company now has a new managing director and a new name, returning as a previous incarnation, Bristows of Devon – a reminder of its great heritage in the trade which dates back to 1932.
New Managing Director, Robert Whittleston says the ambition is to return Bristows of Devon to its position as one of the leading independent artisan confectionery manufacturers in the UK. The brand will introduce high quality traditional products with a contemporary twist, as well as staples such as cut and wrap fudge and toffee.
Robert brings a great deal of experience to his role having run various food manufacturing sites and his own business making sugar and sugar-free confectionery for the UK and export markets. He has already brought the company’s first product to launch and jars of Bristows Mocktails bon-bons hit the shelves at the end of February. Available in six flavours including Gin and Lemon, Mojito and Prosecco, they are complemented by Mocktails chews in four flavours. The company also intends to develop its Tuckers and Pollards brands and revive own label confectionery for retail and wholesale markets in the UK and internationally.
Joining Robert, as Chairman on the board of directors is Frank Bristow – a member of the original Bristow family, who will take part in management meetings, attend exhibitions and work on new product development.
The team is exploring opportunities to bring back the nostalgic top quality recipes used in the company’s heyday when it was renowned for its luxury bon-bons, butterscotch, boiled sweets and cut and wrap products. Alongside this, Bristows of Devon will also reflect modern tastes with a range of sugar-free sweets and unique flavourings and inclusions to produce premium products.
As PRG already owns a wholesaler within ten miles of the site, Bristows will benefit from synergies across head office functions as well as the new investment. There are plans to introduce new technologies that will increase the capacity and efficiencies at the site. The BRC audited factory, experienced employees and new developments mean that Bristows is now well equipped to supply major retail customers in the UK and abroad.
Robert is feeling optimistic about the future and says the new company has a completely new ethos that extends to every level of its operations, “We have all the right ingredients in place and we’re hungry for success. The target will be to see a ‘Bristows of Devon’ bag, tub or tin on every supermarket shelf for customers old and new to enjoy.”
The Bristows of Devon team can be contacted by calling 01363 774 631 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org