The Sharma family has injected new life into the UK confectionery market with the rebirth of sweet maker Bristows of Devon.
Bristows has traded under a myriad of names and owners since its origins in the 1930s, most-recently as the Devon Sweet Factory, before it went into administration in July last year under managing director David Ives, who acquired the assets in 2011.
Prior to that, the maker of traditional bonbons, fudges and toffees was known as Crediton Confectionery to reflect the town of the same name located in Devon in the south west of England, with the brands Pollards and Tuckers under its wing following purchases in the 1990s.
And now out of receivership has emerged Bristows of Devon after Paramount Retail Group bought up the plant and machinery, with Sunny and Ravi Sharma installed as directors. Robert Whittleston has been appointed as managing director having had previous experience in the food industry and running his own confectionery business in the UK.
Frank Bristow, a member of the original Bristow family, has been brought in as chairman of the board and among his responsibilities will be new product development. Meanwhile, former employees have been invited back.
Paramount Retail has already invested GBP600,000 (US$815,683) in the business to purchase new machinery.
Whittleston said the ”ambition is to return Bristows of Devon to its position as one of the leading independent artisan confectionery manufacturers in the UK”.
The company will introduce traditional products with a ”contemporary twist”, as well as staples such as cut-and-wrap fudge, and toffee.
New products are already rolling out, with the launch in February of Bristows Mocktails bonbons in six different flavours. And 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.
“We have all the right ingredients in place and we’re hungry for success,” said Whittleston. ”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.”