For most, Lewis Road Creamery burst onto the scene in October 2014 as the makers of the chocolate milk which sent the country into a frenzy and required the presence of guards at supermarkets, who in turn enacted one-bottle-per-person limits. However, as founder Peter Cullinane explained, the origins of Lewis Road Creamery can be traced back to an epiphany in the dairy aisle and a shipping container.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
“The story of Lewis Road Creamery begins with me, a supermarket trolley and a light-bulb moment when I was shopping the chiller section of my local supermarket. I’m a self-confessed ‘bread and butter man’ and as I went to put a European premium butter into my trolley – the only premium butter available in the store at the time - it hit me. Why was it, for a world-class dairying nation, that the best butter you could buy in the supermarket was from Holland?
“Armed with an Agee jar and a YouTube video about how to make your own butter, I set out to create my own on my kitchen bench. From there a combination of sheer determination and a series of serendipitous events led to the creation of Lewis Road Creamery and our first-ever product range – Lewis Road Creamery Premium Butters.
“From these humble beginnings in our ‘creamery’ (actually a shipping container), the brand has gone from strength to strength, built around the premise that simple, quality ingredients that are light on the land and light on process create products that are full-on flavour and goodness. I strongly believe that New Zealand’s future lies beyond commodities and we as a country are genuinely capable of producing world class branded products that prove quality beats quantity every time.”
What is the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
“We currently produce ranges of premium and artisan butter, a steak butter (just launched) and palm-oil free chocolate butter (a world first), organic milks, premium permeate-free milks, flavoured milks (including our famous Fresh Chocolate Milk), bread, ice creams and a Chocolate Cream Liqueur – our answer to Baileys. What makes these products so successful (market leader in organic milk, flavoured milk and premium butter) is their simplicity. Top quality ingredients, blended in simple processes. We are big on collaboration and have worked with some great people and brands, Whittaker’s on flavoured milk and chocolate butter, OOB on ice cream, Chef Sean Connolly of The Grill on Steak Butter to name but a few. And let’s not forget the important role the packaging plays to stand out on the shelf. The product and the packaging need to be as good as each other, and I believe we have achieved this with every single product we have bought to market. And we will continue to raise the bar.”
Has there been any recent company news?
“There is never a dull moment at Lewis Road and our pace to market is something we are proud of. Last week we launched a Steak Butter in collaboration with leading chef and steak aficionado, Sean Connolly of the Grill. With a combination of herbs and spices blended together with our butter in small batches, this butter certainly elevates the average steak to something quite spectacular!
“Our ‘Roadies’ are really important to us, and we have nearly reached 200,000 followers on Facebook, which is something we are immensely proud of.”
What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?
“We have lots of exciting plans and new products launching throughout the year. I can’t give away too much though, or I’ll be hung, drawn and quartered by my team. What I can say is that our customers can continue to expect even more innovation this year with new products and new categories on the horizon. Export is also something we are working towards with a focus on the UK, China and Australia so we will certainly share any news on that front when there is some.”
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability?
“Our core ranges – butter, milk, flavoured milk, and ice cream, are available at selected supermarkets nationwide as well as from specialty food stores like Farro and Moore Wilsons. Our liqueur was our first launch outside of supermarkets and is available in liquor outlets and select bars and restaurants throughout the country. Duty-Free is something we are working towards for liqueur and are also looking at direct-to-consumer channels for those daily essentials like milk, bread and butter.
“We do also have a range of products tailored to the restaurant and café trade – for example, our 5-litre ice creams. And our Premium Butters are sought after by high-end restaurants who know their clientele will taste and appreciate the quality of NZ’s best butter.
“All our retail stockists can be found our website www.lewisroadcreamery.co.nz. For trade enquiries contact email@example.com.”