David and Martina Burns of Richmount Cordial in Carrickboy
Longford is filled with artisan products from beers to candles to cordials and all of them up to a very high standard, as was proven by Richmount Cordial Company recently when an order was shipped all the way to Japan.
Based in Carrickboy, Richmount Cordial is an extremely popular Longford product - so well enjoyed in fact that when delegates from the Japanese company visited Ireland in 2019, and tried the cordial, they were suitably impressed and put in an inquiry through an intermediary in the UK.
“We weren’t sure whether it was a genuine enquiry or whether it was a scam or an attempt at phishing,” said Martina Burns who, along with her husband, David, runs the Carrickboy-based business.
“But, as we learned about them, we became convinced the enquiry was genuine. However, we felt we were not in a position to supply them and declined the opportunity, telling them to contact us again in 2020.”
Realistically, Martina and David didn’t expect to hear from them again and they were surprised when they were contacted by the company again this year.
“We began to email paperwork to them, which was checked, word by word, by customs officials,” Martina explained.
“Our contact in the UK, Aska, was extremely helpful all through the process and helped every step of the way. Eventually, the order came through, payment arrived in our bank account, and the order was dispatched.
“We agreed the first order would be relatively small, to test the system and to make sure the cordial arrived safely but already they are talking about a second order.”
The pallet of cordial is going by sea from Dublin Port to Antwerp, where it will be transferred to a larger container ship for the journey to Tokyo. It is scheduled to arrive in early January 2021 and, to stay true to their roots, Martina and David wrote the word ‘Longford’ on the bottom plank of the pallet.
“Because our cordial is very much associated with Longford and we are proud of that,” said Martina.
“We are both delighted, if not incredulous, that our first ever export of elderflower cordial, made from elderflowers grown here in Richmount, and hand-picked by our local seasonal workers, is on its way to Tokyo, which has a population almost twice the size of Ireland,” she added.
“To me, it’s an affirmation of the quality of our product, which is made in small batches with a few simple ingredients.
“David and I could never have imagined, as we sat around the kitchen table back in 2012, and laughed at what a crazy idea it would be to start producing elderflower cordial, that eight years later we would be exporting to Japan – it’s just unreal.”
This is a huge step forward for such a small business in the middle of Ireland and Martina and David are hugely grateful for the opportunity and to Aska who offered help and advice throughout the exporting process.
“We are confident that the Japanese will enjoy a taste of Ireland, the taste of Longford, the taste of Richmount Elderflower cordial,” said Martina.
“Our Japanese contacts had intended to visit Ireland again this year but were unable to due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. They hope to make the journey in 2021 and to visit us here in Carrickboy and hopefully we will have the pleasure of welcoming them and showing them how and where our cordial is made.”