A bespoke new food and drink facility has been launched at the Appleby Creamery in Cumbria to support new product development and business growth in the dairy sector.
The Cumbria ‘Maker Space’ is kitted out to produce traditional dairy products, as well as specialist cheese such as halloumi. The facility is open for free to anyone interested in creating or experimenting with new dairy-based products, upscaling an existing business, or simply learning how to make cheese and other dairy foods and drinks.
It is funded and operated by the Digital Dairy Chain, a five-year project that offers any business or individual involved in the dairy supply chain across Cumbria, South and West Scotland a range of services to support innovation and productivity. Appleby Creamery, the home of the Cumbria facilities, is owned by one of the Digital Dairy Chain’s project partners, the award-winning cheese makers Cows & Co.
Commenting on the launch of the new dairy-product facility, Maker Space Coordinator Ant Hobson said: “This has been a fantastic project to launch with Cows & Co and we’re very excited to announce the space is now open for all within the region of Cumbria and South and West Scotland to use. It will give large and small producers of dairy-based food and drink the chance to innovate in a supportive environment, or to move from small-scale ‘kitchen creations’ into commercially viable production.
“In addition to free access to the bespoke new product development facilities, users of the Maker Space will also receive mentorship from industry experts, troubleshooting support, collaboration opportunities and hands-on training in both traditional and modern processes.”
One of the Cumbria Maker Space’s first participants is Martin Gott, owner of the artisan cheese company St James Cheese. Martin and his team currently produce a halloumi-style cheese for restaurants around the country. The Maker Space trial will allow the team to use its existing milk supply to produce cheese in higher volumes, with additional technical support and expertise to ensure it is able to maintain the quality its customers have come to expect.
Martin said: “The Maker Space facility has provided us with a free space to test alternative ways to produce our product that isn’t always possible during our day-to-day operations. This allows us to learn the benefits and limitations of new methods or equipment, without losing valuable production time in our own dairy.
“This is an invaluable form of business support that will allow us to better evaluate ways to increase or improve our production efficiency and possibly reach new markets.”
The Digital Dairy Chain is currently working with Ayrshire College to open its second Maker Space facility on its Ayr Campus later this year.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Maker Spaces please contact Ant Hobson, Maker Space Coordinator. Email: [email protected] or Tel: 07587 892196.