Bangers & Brotherhood
Written by: Charlotte Fielding
Rob Beard is the founder of Beard Brothers, a family business based in Hawke’s Bay producing handcrafted small goods from the finest New Zealand ingredients. The Beard Brothers award-winning range of sausages, patties, and sausage rolls are full of flavour and all the good stuff. Charlotte Fielding talks to Rob about hunting, community, and business.
Why did you start Beard Brothers?
We started Beard Brothers because we saw there was an opportunity in the marketplace to bring out a good, decent old school sausage.
How did the name come about?
The Beard Brothers are our three sons. Max, Ned, and Sam. I don’t wear a beard, and I haven’t got any brothers. So that’s where the name comes from.
What are you proud of in your business?
One of the things I’m most proud of is my dream becoming reality. To see the opportunity and take on the challenge and then see it come to fruition. I love Beard Brothers. I’m super proud of it.
I’m proud of all my staff, they’re all incredible. And giving people opportunities – that’s a big one for me too.
Tell me about your range of products.
We offer a pretty diverse range actually, which is something we’re quite proud of. We’re not a one trick pony.
We’re launching our goat sausage, which is the only goat sausage available on the supermarket shelves. Goat is the most eaten meat in the world, and it’s incredible. It’s out of the gate.
We try to cater for as many people as we can. It’s as simple as that.
What are your practices around sustainability?
Our packaging is all recyclable. It doesn’t sound like much, but we’re one of the only producers now to still have a cardboard sleeve. Everyone’s gone to plastic and plastic stickers but it’s important to us to use recyclable materials. It’s an extra cost to the business but that’s one thing that we’re proud of. We also try to use all local suppliers.
How do you give back to your community?
I get rapped on the knuckles every month by the bank managers and accountants about this. We support I Am Hope, the ACORN project, Nourished for Nil, Social Supermarkets – we are hugely involved in the communities. We rarely say no. We’re always out helping.
In Cyclone Gabrielle we cooked up three tonnes of sausages for the people out in the community over a six week period. We just got out there and did it.
It’s something we’re proud of as a brand that we do try to help where we can. Obviously we’re a business, but one of our core mantras is to use our business as a vessel to help others.
I hear that you go hunting with your boys. What do you love about hunting?
I love it because it’s a switch off from the pressure of running a business. And probably 90% of all my ideas in NPD [new product development] come from when I’m away in my happy place.
When I’m away hunting in the hills my mind wanders. I’m not searching for answers, but answers sort of come to me.
The pork and watercress sausage was a classic. We were hunting and I said to the boys, let’s pick some watercress and have some. My middle son Ned said to me, ‘Hey Dad you should put watercress in the sausage.’
I said, ‘Yes, we probably should, Ned’ and that’s how that sausage came about. That was the Pork and Cress which is now one of our top sellers.
Who are your idols?
In business? Whittakers chocolate. I think they are just an incredible company. Got huge respect for them and love what they do.
I’ve got a lot of people that I wouldn’t say idolise, but respect. Glenn Miller, who was the former owner of Mill Street PAK’nSAVE. He’s been amazing. A lot of people I’ve met while growing this business. When you’re new to the supermarket industry, coming from a wine background, everyone was so helpful. And that’s one thing I’ve really embraced and loved about doing what I do.
What are you excited to work on in the future?
Oh the brain’s full of ideas. There’s a lot of NPD still swirling around. We’ve got exciting stuff in the pipeline. Our sausage rolls have just come out and we’ve got some salami coming soon. We’ve just launched a collaboration with Mrs Rogers, we’re doing a Moroccan lamb sausage. We’re really proud of that one. There’s heaps of cool stuff on the go and that’s what keeps me pumped. I love it.
The perfect summer snag with the perfect summer salad
Wondering what to cook tonight? Never fear when Beard Brothers is here! Why not give this tasty summer salad a whirl?
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
1⁄2 cup pecans
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1 bag of rocket
1 packet of pomegranate seeds 1⁄4 red onion, sliced thin
1 packet crumbled feta cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 1 lemon, zested and juiced
salt and pepper to taste
Here’s how to do it.
To make the candied pecans, pour the sugar in a small skillet and pour the pecans on top. Cook over medium heat until sugar melts and turns a caramel colour stirring constantly so that the nuts and sugar do not burn. Be patient! It takes a while for the sugar to start melting. Once the sugar turns a caramel colour coat keep stirring to coat the pecans with it. Pour pecans onto greased wax paper or aluminum foil to cool. Once pecans are cooled, break them into pieces.
Place the lettuce, pomegranate seeds, red onion, feta cheese, and pecan pieces into a large mixing bowl; set aside.
Whisk together the Dijon mustard, vinegar, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice (to taste), salt, and pepper in a separate bowl. Pour over the salad and toss to coat.
Serve immediately. BOOM!
Beard Brothers venison hot dogs
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
Beard Brothers Old School Venison Sausages (1 ⁄ 2 kg tray) made with selected grass-fed free-farmed venison from our trusted network of farmers across New Zealand. Our natural hog casings allow the full flavours and textures to shine. With no fillers, no MSG, and no gluten.
Gerry’s high protein rolls, crammed with healthy ingredients like hemp seeds, sunflower kernels, linseeds.
Jock Zonfrillo’s dill cucumbers & lettuce concoction.
Dinner sorted just like that!