Heritage firm

Smokehouse revived after closing during pandemic

Marie-Clare James and Rob Trotter

A traditional Scottish food business has been revived after its founders closed the business during the pandemic due to retirement. 

Ethico Holdings has acquired the Belhaven Smokehouse, established 46 years ago near Dunbar, and has hired five staff, including the original fish smokers.

The company, which will be run by managing director Rob Trotter, will invest a six-figure sum in the 4.5-acre site by upgrading the production facility, enlarging the existing shop and delicatessen, and extending the current product range to create a food and leisure destination. 

To achieve this a restaurant will be created within the premises. Work is also underway to create a brand and business strategy for the restaurant and leisure destination.

Mr Trotter is from a farming background but has spent the last 20 years rising to director level with one of the largest property management firms in the UK.

He said: “Together with the exciting business opportunity this business presented to us, it is a privilege to preserve the ancient tradition of hand curing and smoking fish.

“To ensure continuity in the quality of the produce, we have retained the core production staff who, over many years, have developed their skills in this age-old preservation and flavouring technique.”

Belhaven Smokehouse has hired Marie-Clare James who has extensive food industry experience, most recently as a wholesale, seafood account manager focusing on the restaurant and hotel market in Scotland. Ms James ran a Scottish Government project in schools to encourage more children to enjoy seafood.

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