Why I started Barbury Hill and our story so far
Our story so far
As I try to recover from the excitement of being shortlisted as a finalist at the Federation of Small Business Awards in the category of Start-Up Business of the Year for the South East, I’ve taken some time to reflect on our journey so far.
Starting Barbury Hill during the pandemic, and building it into a business worthy of being nominated for such an honour, hasn’t been straightforward. Which is why I’m so incredibly proud that the judges of the awards recognised the passion that has driven us over the past 18 months and continues to do so as we expand our product ranges and categories.
A passion for independent produce
Because that’s what has got us to this point, a passion for promoting the food and drink of the British Isles and the country’s fantastic independent producers. I think we’ve all had a favourite independent food or drink producer at one point in our lives. I know I have.
I would routinely drive around the country to buy and enjoy artisan cheese here, an organic ale there or English wine… anywhere. Kent, the Cotswolds, Norfolk or further afield. A natter with the brewer, baker or maker was always an added bonus to the joy of tasting something at its seasonal best. Being able to get a better understanding of where the product was from and how it was made makes it taste so much better. For me, that’s what buying from independent producers is all about.
A thirst that couldn’t be quenched
It was the summer of 2020 and I was at home (along with the rest of the country) researching and refining ideas for a new start-up when one particularly warm day led me to develop a thirst for English cider. I wanted to enjoy homegrown, handcrafted cider and I wanted to order it online. I searched and searched for a particular producer I liked but finding their site wasn’t easy and ordering online was unnecessarily complex. Frustrated and still thirsty, I realised it was time to make buying from premium independent producers, easy, fast and reliable. Barbury Hill was born.
Why we’re passionate about supporting small businesses
It's never been more important to support and champion independent British producers. The challenge? Finding them! This is why Barbury Hill exists. We shine a light on the best of British talent not found on supermarket shelves by making their products more accessible to our target audience. We try each and every product so our customers can have confidence in our select range and we visit the producers and farmers so we can get to know them and see their ethical and sustainable processes first hand.
When you buy from Barbury Hill you’re buying from real people who have poured their heart, soul and love into creating something truly special. Our producers care about their food and drink, and it shows. And we carry this same ethos through our customer service by providing a truly personalised experience; we offer the opportunity to add a personalised note to every order and our advice-led support is on hand to help pick out the ideal food and drink gift.
Supporting small businesses to support the environment
It's not just the producers who benefit when you buy through us. We’re careful to work with businesses with solid eco-credentials. There’s no greenwashing here. Our producers are leading the charge for better sustainability and environmentally conscious practices. From Penrhos Spirits’ use of ‘wonky’ fruit in their gins, to the organic artisan cheese of the Bath Soft Cheese Co., our producers share a concern for the world around them.
As we enter our second year, we are home to 50 different bakers, farmers, wine makers, distilleries, smoke houses and a meadery. The Meet The Maker section of our website is a great way to meet each one and find out more about what’s on offer. As I’ve discovered, it can also save you a long car journey!
If you have any questions about the products that we feature, get in touch with our team who have tried the range and would be delighted to help.
Thank you for taking the time to read our story so far. If you go on to explore our wonderful categories, I hope you find something you love! Don’t forget to contact us if you’re looking for a particular gift and you’d like our advice. We’re always happy to talk about our favourite subject - food & drink from small businesses!
by Dan Smith, Barbury Hill Founder
Dan founded Barbury Hill and he is the man behind our mission to shine a light on the best of British food and drink. He loves wine, cider and small batch cheese. And every producer on Barbury Hill.