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Busha Browne to spice up its brand with coffee

Published:Sunday | November 13, 2016 | 11:00 AMSteven Jackson
Sean Garbutt, marketing director of Associated Manufacturers Limited.
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Associated Manufacturers Limited (AML), makers of the Busha Browne line of sauces, wants to add coffee to its line-up, while also seeking out investors to grow the brand in key markets.

"We are examining a few dynamic options regarding the way forward with our Busha Browne brand. One of the main strategies being considered is to seek out strategic partnerships in brand equity investment to fund greater brand awareness and distribution reach in our respective overseas markets," said Sean Garbutt, marketing director at AML.

Alongside Bush Browne, AML makes two other brands which focuses on different tiers of the market Walkerswood, whose jerk sauce is in high demand in North America and the United Kingdom; and Jamaica Joe which sells at a lower price-point.

However, Busha Browne which targets the higher end of the sauce market doesn't have the wide distribution of a Walkerswood, nor the price flexibility of a Jamaica Joe a factor that weighs on AML's consideration to diversify the line beyond sauces and spices to include luxury Jamaican coffee.

The company wants to source coffee beans from established producers and then package the product under the Busha Browne label. Garbutt said AML would choose a specific coffee type to increase brand differentiation.

AML is "also looking to develop private label relationships to allow us to add some high profile Jamaican/Caribbean items into our product range such as an ultra premium Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee," said Garbutt.

 

Brand Elevation

 

"By adding more high end items into the range we hope to elevate the Busha Browne brand image and make it more than just a traditional jerk line," he said.

The Busha Browne line founded by Winston Stona, includes jerk sauces, marinades, jellies, preserves and chutneys. Ownership of the Busha Browne, Walkerswood and Jamaica Joe brands are held in a company called New Castle. Shareholders in New Castle include Pan-Jamaican Investment Trust, G Raymond Chang estate, Christopher Boorman and Ian Garbutt.

"Walkerswood continues to do very well in our existing markets with consistent year on year growth. Busha Browne is growing but has challenges, in that it doesn't have the same level of diaspora support as Walkerswood and the focus is in the gourmet/specialty food categories that require a heavier spend to grow influence and compete with Global brands," Sean Garbutt said.

New Castle earned $1.5 billion in annual sales last year, based on financial disclosures by Pan-Jam, a listed company. The turnover reflected 18 per cent growth, year on year, most of which came from a new distribution deal in the United States that improved consumer reach with major chains.

"So this coming year is all about continuing to build our brand presence and encouraging consumer purchase to drive retail sales," Garbutt said.

The September quarter however was impacted by water supply challenges in the community of Walkerswood, St Ann. The factory and a number of farms are located in the area.

"The community and surrounding areas are supplied by a deep-water well and every year there's an event which leaves the community without water for weeks. So our agro-processing operations were impacted by the lack of water," the marketing director said.

The company trucked water to the plant but it only met half of the factory's daily requirement of 12,000 to 15,000 gallons of water. "We hope that in the long-term the National Water Commission (NWC) can find a way to implement changes to increase the water capacity in our Walkerswood community," he said.

Since its acquisition in 2009, the factory at Walkerswood has been expanded three times. It operates on a single day-time shift.

The plan to increase production or add another shift at night remains constrained by raw material supplies, including escallion, scotch bonnet peppers and pimento berries.

In the last fiscal year, AML exported 240 containers across nine international markets. To achieve this, the company sourced 2.7 million pounds of Jamaican raw produce from an islandwide network of farmers, Garbutt recalled.

"Associated Manufacturers Limited operates a multi brand strategy that has us utilising three brands to cover several segments of the sauce, BBQ and seasoning markets - so Busha Browne is the luxury brand for ultra-premium placements such as Whole Foods Fresh Market and Dean & DeLuca; Walkerswood is our flagship brand which has excellent support in our diaspora markets as well as the most potential to cross over into main stream consumer markets; Jamaica Joe is the fighter brand of the group that can offer discount prices to compete with outside rival brands," he said.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com