Sector: food & drink, manufacturer
Denis Lynn is the founder and Managing Director of Finnebrogue, an innovative, value-added manufacturer and exporter of artisan meat products based in County Down.
Established in 1996, the company was originally focused on the farming and production of high quality venison.
In 1999, following three years of test-marketing, Lynn and his team took the decision to develop a value-added deer slaughtering and processing facility at Finnebrogue Estate, Downpatrick, and to this day, the plant remains the only one of its kind in Ireland.
The venison production business has grown steadily in the intervening years and the company is now engaged in the processing of a variety of venison products, including grill steaks, sausages, casserole cubes, and leg steaks.
Following on from its success within the venison market, the company diversified into the manufacture of pork sausages, developing a recipe and production method that combine succulence and definition in a sausage to a level which it regards to be unmatched by its competitors.
2009 saw the company launch the ‘Jimmy Doherty’ sausage brand and secure the rights to the Paul Rankin sausage portfolio, both of which it sells to the Waitrose and Tesco supermarket chains, achieving a combined turnover of £3 million.
This was also the year that Finnebrogue launched its own range of products which retail under the brand name, ‘The Good Little Company’.
Marketing itself as a “little company with big plans and an even bigger mission”, the sense of social responsibility it conveys has clearly resonated with conscientious consumers across the United Kingdom: The Good Little Company is currently one of the fastest selling new lines in Waitrose and Lynn aims to bring the brand to annualised sales of £4 million within two years.
Finnebrogue manufactured Marks & Spencer Christmas product lines for the first time in 2010 and achieved impressive seasonal sales of £669,000, only for this figure to quadruple over the same period in 2011.
The company has since won the contract to supply Marks & Spencer’s top-tier sausage business, thereby increasing its annual revenue from the premium retailer to £3 million to £7 million, and has recently secured a deal to supply counter sausage to Sainsbury’s UK that is worth £3 million to the Down-based firm.Products:
Finnebrogue manufactures and supplies a range of artisan, value-added pork and venison products to multiples throughout the UK and Ireland.Customers:
The company has been proactive about obtaining listings with key multiples and succeeded in having a number of its core products listed with Marks and Spencer, Tesco Ireland and Superquinn within its first four years.
As growth has continued, the company has added a number of other premium retailers, such as Waitrose and Sainsbury’s, to its impressive portfolio of clients.What is your biggest business achievement?
Achieving steady annual growth of around 40% - we’ve grown every year for the last 12 years.What are the biggest challenges you currently face?
We have a clear understanding of what we are as a business and are opinionated about the things that matter: making great quality food, and treating animals, people and the planet with respect.
The next big challenge is about combining customer insight with our own product development to help deliver products that people love.