Christmas. It's a wonderful time of the year.
For food producers, it's always our busiest time. I think this is the same for all food producers, one way or another, do correct me in the comments if I'm wrong; if you're a food producer who is quiet at Christmas. We start making for Christmas way back in August, it's funny when the sun is shining, and we can still smell BBQ smoke, that the "Christmas Make Sheet' becomes a thing.
The intensity then builds and builds. Our gift selections are launched in mid-November and by then we are full steam ahead, the hive of activity shifts from our cheesemaking rooms to our cutting, packing and wrapping teams as we complete the orders from our customers.
Predicting what we will need for the festive season is a dark art. We work closely with our customers, and the more information they can give us about their requirements, the more accurate we can be. And we have also benefitted from 30 years, and so 30 Christmas' in business, each year we learn, and that knowledge rolls into our decision making for the following year.
Don't get me wrong, we are still caught out, one way or another, every year. Last year, sales increased dramatically across the board in November and early December, past what we had predicted (which is always growth on the previous year). By the time we know it is happening, it is impossible to make and mature more stock, and as we got closer to Christmas in 2018, we sold out of almost everything! On talking to our fellow cheesemakers, we weren't alone, there was an unpredictable huge spike in demand for Christmas cheese in 2018! This year, fingers crossed, our predictions have been more accurate. The only one that caught us out this year is our Yorkshire Fettle 150gs, our little waxed truckles of feta-style cheese. We made more this year than we sold last year, but in late November we had a run on them, everyone seemed to want these little truckles of sheep's milk cheese, and so apart from the handful we had packed into our gift selections, we ran out. Because our ewe's milk is not available in December, we'll be out of stock until well into January. I'm sure this has disappointed some, but I'm thankful and grateful to our whole team, and our fantastic suppliers, that the vast majority of people will find all their Christmas cheese wishes come true in 2019.
Our Christmas party is on Friday 20th of December, in the UK this is called Mad Friday. We'll be very ready for it.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas,