Danny Moore founded Forager’s Fancy in Wirral and the business is now enjoying rapid growth with his products about to be stocked in some well known restaurants. Tony McDonough reports
Wirral ‘forager’ Danny Moore is in talks with a number of leading bars and restaurants in Merseyside who are looking to stock his brandies and gins.
In February, LBN reported how Danny had set up Forager’s Fancy working from his home in Bebington. Its origins go back to Danny’s childhood in Essex when he would accompany his dad and brother on their foraging expeditions in the county’s hedgerows.
As an adult Danny has had a varied working life. He trained as a tree surgeon and has worked as a specialist scaffolder for many years. This has led to working on the sets of blockbuster films, including the Mission Impossible franchise with Tom Cruise.
But his love of foraging in the woods and hedgerows for wild ingredients has never left him and it has now led to a fast-growing business. He identified a demand for organic, sustainable produce.
Now, using wild ingredients, he produces a range of products which are seasonal. This time of the year the focus is on infused spirits such as sloe brandy. Since he spoke with LBN in February the business has stepped up a gear. He is selling his produce at markets, not just in Merseyside, but also as far afield as Ripon. He has also taken on 19-year-old Dylan Ray under the Kickstart scheme.
“I have now applied for a licence that will allow me to sell alcohol as a wholesaler,” said Danny. “That takes around 40 days to come through and it will really make a difference when it does.
“I have been talking to a number of bars and restaurants, one is a very well known restaurant in Liverpool and they are keen to start stocking my brandies. Business is really starting to pick up now.”
Danny is particularly excited for the run-up to Christmas which sees a big ramp up in the number of temporary markets. On December 3 he will be selling his wares at Liverpool Cathedral, Ness Gardens in Wirral on December 4 and the Bombed-Out Church in Liverpool on December 5. There are also events at New Brighton and Liscard.
“Our sloe brandy, sloe gin and chocolate are particularly popular at the moment,” added Danny. We have currently sold out of the fennel vodka so hopefully we can start making some more of that in the spring.
“What is really good is the number of people we see coming back to us. There is a growing volume of repeat business. Our wild garlic pesto and salt have proved to be big sellers.”
Danny has also been involved in a collaboration with Brimstage Brewery and Claire House Children’s Hospice. He took part in a taster event at the brewery earlier this year, with a number of parents whose children had been at the hospice.
He explained: “Our elderflower went down really well so now Brimstage has produced 270 cases of Forager’s Fancy Elderflower Lager. They are being sold for £30 a case with all the profits going to Claire House.”
At the moment, Danny is still working out of his and his brother’s home but the plan is to invest in a small production facility. He said: “It is a real boost now having Dylan on board for six months under the Kickstart scheme. He has been brilliant and hopefully he will pick up some new skills and qualifications while he is with us.”
Of course, the foraging is still a passion for Danny and essential in keeping the business supplied with raw ingredients. He said: “I can forage throughout the year but you will find certain ingredients at certain times. For example, spring and summer is the best time to find wild garlic and we can freeze that to use all year round.
“The alcohol products have very different production times. Some of the vodka we can do in just a week but the sloe brandy, as its name suggests, takes a year before it is ready.
“Considering where we were at the beginning of the year I am very pleased with the ways things are going. Once we start supplying the bars and restaurants that will be a big step-up. And, in the meantime, Christmas is going to be massive.”