Local entrepreneurs and business owners have welcomed the huge boost they have received three days into the 153rd Balmoral Show, with new and old tradesmen and women citing plenty of positive feedback.
Garvagh native Ian Linton has been selling his homemade DVDs and videos at the show for around 15 years. He said Balmoral is the one event in the agricultural calendar that he knows will really boost business.
“Balmoral is very, very good and is the biggest-selling show for me. You get the same folks coming back to you every year, all the time. I've had ones from all ages coming in. I’ve children’s DVDS, vintage, history, music — I’ve everything.”
With over 200 film titles under his own name, as well as productions he has filmed for different country music companies, Ian — who is a plasterer by trade — said his first film, ‘The Way It Used To Be’ is still a farming fan favourite.
“It’s the very first one I made 35 years ago. I’m still selling it and that’s what got me into the job, it’s all about vintage farming. The most recent one I’ve shot is ‘Years Gone By’ — people always like the vintage stuff.”
From old to new — novel gin distillers James Richardson and Martha Garbe can’t believe the success their brand new gin distillery stall at Balmoral has seen in such a short space of time.
Together the couple (both aged 25) have founded the Basalt Distillery, home to their product Giants Basalt Rock Gin, which is officially launching at the end of June.
“The reception [at Balmoral] has been absolutely amazing, I’ve actually been shocked at how many people are interested,” James told the Belfast Telegraph.
“We’ve had so many people come in and pre-order bottles. All the staff are so helpful too. It’s such good brand exposure. We brought over 1,500 handout cards, and they were gone within a day and a half, and the amount of people that have followed us on social media since — it’s absolutely brilliant for new businesses.
“Any business can fit in here, especially food and drink. Everybody wants to buy local stuff, no matter what you’re doing — coffee or anything - people want to try it.
Explaining how the pair came to be gin distillers, James continued: “We both did chemical engineering at university and distillation is one of the processes we learned quite a lot about.
“I’m from Coleraine, so I knew about the tourism market up by the Giant’s Causeway, and I worked in the Bushmills visitor centre. Everyone was always asking for gins and different types of spirits, because not everyone is a big whiskey fan, so I felt there was a gap in the market and there’s no other gin up on the north coast.
“We’ve used our knowledge to build a really unique and local gin, and we’ve used the hexagonal shape to stand apart from everybody else in the crowd, because most gin bottles now look the same.”
This year’s Balmoral Show will wrap up on Saturday, with the final day full of activities, including the famous Six Nations Shearing sheep contest, show jumping competitions, and the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team ending the festivities at 5.30pm.