- 25-year-old Max Scotford, founder of Bullion Chocolate, has not had any time to look back since being named Supreme Champion of the 2018 New Producer Awards
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His single origin bean to bar craft chocolate company, Bullion, is about to move its new production premises which are part of the largest independent food hall in the North of England, the Cutlery Works in Sheffield.
Scotford recently opened a café and cocktail bar there, selling hot chocolate, hot drinks and baked goods made with Bullion chocolate, and cocktails at night.
He says: “Up to the time of winning the award I had spent two years building up the brand, making single origin bean to bar craft chocolate for online sales with just the help of a freelance chocolatier. In the last year it has been a question of managing the growth of the business.”
After winning the Award, Scotford put in a Kickstarter bid to raise funding to move to The Cutlery Factory, hitting his fundraising target in only 20 days.
His café and bar now employ four baristas, and trained chef Max is on the verge of moving production to The Cutlery Works.
The last year presented plenty of challenges, although Scotford has never doubted his mission.
He says: “We import and roast our own cocoa beans. We want to share the chocolate production process from bean to bar with people, to let them experience chocolate in a new way.”
When his new “craft factory” is up and running, he will be offering tours to show visitors how chocolate is made.
It is a dream come true for Scotford, a trained chef who was working in sales and marketing when he got a windfall which meant he could afford to start up Bullion.
He had registered a trademark, Pro-yo, as a 17-year-old, and was approached to sell it on by a yoghurt company launching in the UK.
Scotford’s entrepreneurial streak and passion for chocolate have taken him far, but he still has big plans for the future: “We want craft chocolate to be recognised on the same level as craft beer or craft coffee. No one is doing what we do, a true craft bean to bar chocolate factory with a café attached. The model would be very exciting in London, it could be rolled out around the UK.”
For now, Scotford’s attention is on commissioning his new factory which is finally ready to open, after a Herculean struggle.
He says: “We are based by a river on a manmade island, Kelham Island, one of Sheffield’s oldest manufacturing areas. On the opening night of the new Cutlery Works destination a drainage pump blew up flooding our part of the building. The building’s owners had to build a waterproof room around the pump.”
With that, and many other teething problems behind him, Scotford is looking forward to a weekend break, his first holiday in two years.
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