Friday, May 28, 2010

Back from New York - DeBragga Roundup

I just got back from New York. I have photos, but will probably add them later.

Here's some highlights:

DeBragga did a great job; we ought to sell a lot of meat and fatback in NYC.

Pricing is ridiculously important. The price of our stuff in NYC will generally be below $10/lb. Above that price: major resistance. Below $10/lb, the right customers try it. Our strategy now requires turning over more and more pigs. To do that, we need to sell a bunch in NYC (getting a lot of national publicity), so that we can turnover the production in across the USA. It is a lot easier to see that working if the price is low enough.

Prime Meats in Brooklyn reminds me a lot of restaurants in Munich. They've got great pretzels. Not the typically fake ones you often find in the USA. That's all on purpose; that's how the owners wanted the restaurant to feel.

George Faison, co-owner of DeBragga (and our distributor), is passionate and convincing. He's really good at what he does. It is great to have him working in the interests of Wooly Pigs.

As George explained to the crowd, the Mangalitsa launch had some interesting features: we've got an Austro-Hungarian pig, imported by a guy who lived in Central Europe for years, raised with Austrian methods, killed at a plant in the ethnic-German part of Missiouri by staff who were trained by Austrians how to kill and cut pigs, and finally, served at a souther Germany or Austrian restaurant -- the day they got a two-star New York Times review.

Johnston County Hams's ham and bacon (made from our pork) taste great. They are going to make some waves with those products. A bunch of NYC's best chefs agreed that Rufus's bacon and ham were great.

Knight Salumi's lardo from our pigs and our own lardo was so good, I didn't get any of it in the first course, because everyone else ate it before it reached me in the back. The lardo was ridiculously popular.

Tom Colicchio likes Mangalitsa sirloin. He bought the necks.

Chef Paul Liebrandt (Corton - two Michelin stars) is a very nice guy. He's been using the product a while, so he provided some constructive criticism. He was so nice I'm really hoping we can improve the things he wants improved as quickly as possible.

April Bloomfield is a nice person, and a Mangalitsa fan.

Zach Friedman really likes Mangalitsa. I won't be surprised if he visits Swiss Meats to kill his own pig or two. He's very passionate about the stuff! I can see him doing something like this too.

Pretty much everyone in the room liked the Mangalitsa that Prime Meats cooked. What the New York Times said about Prime Meats is true. The food is great. And they really like marijuana - a lot.

It was fun to meet customers that I didn't even know of, and find out they appreciate our products.

It is really neat to watch DeBragga's salespeople sell stuff. I went on sales calls with them, so I saw it up close. They are so smooth with their customers.

While on the calls, chefs bought the fatback. In about 8 weeks, there should be a lot of Mangalitsa lardo being served in New York, by some of its best chefs. I know that because this week, they ordered a lot of Mangalitsa fatback, for making lardo.

Overall, I came away confident that DeBragga is going to represent our product very well in the NY market. They've got the right chef contacts and excellent press connections. Their chefs are already ordering lots of fat, which is a very good sign.


Richard Mockler said...

Cngrats, Heath. SAw some of this in the press, including your WSJ quote. We are all thrilled at the prospect of more Mangalitsa for less, too.

Heath said...

Please visit me at the market.

I'm selling stuff at prices lower than any previous prices.

zach said...

Once again Heath, it was a pleasure meeting you and the food was INCREDIBLE!!
Amazing product you are offering.

Anonymous said...

Dabragga does a great job. I always think about them when dry aged beef comes up, but I'm very excited to hear about their new dedication to the mangolitza! Chef Schneller and Steve Bookbinder brought some back to the meat room here at the CIA and we've been snacking away at the lardo and bacon we made for months now!

Kevin McCann
Manager in Training, CIA

Heath said...

Zach -- it was great to meet you too! I hope you keep using Mangalitsa.

If you ever have questions about what to get or what to do, please ask me. E.g. you wonder how to process & serve something.

That was an amazing dinner.

I love how the Wall St. Journal's article was entitled, "Foodies High on Hungarian Hog"!

Heath said...

Kevin -- I'm glad you like Mangalitsa so much. The bacon and lardo from the pigs is simply amazing. It tastes a lot better than any other pigs I've eaten.