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Bean to bar Chocolate Tree crowdfunds to move into bigger premises

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By Jenny Eagle+

28-Mar-2017
Last updated on 30-Mar-2017 at 12:53 GMT2017-03-30T12:53:05Z

Chocolate Tree chocolate box. Picture: Chocolate Tree.
Chocolate Tree chocolate box. Picture: Chocolate Tree.

Chocolate Tree, co-founded by Alastair and Friederike Gower, has launched a £30k ($37k) crowdfunding campaign to transform an East Lothian farmhouse into a chocolate factory, employing 18 staff.

The business based in Edinburgh, Scotland, claims to be the only brand from Scotland making bean to bar chocolate, and has seen a wholesale increase of 50% in the last year and chocolate production of 195,000 bars.

Chocolate machinery

 

The East Lothian location will be housed in a former Knowes Farm Shop and will be used as a factory with weekend workshops and tours.

Alastair Gower, co-owner, Chocolate Tree, said thanks to its success it has outgrown its current premises and the total cost of the project will be around £80k ($100k) as it plans to invest in renovating the building and new equipment.

This is a long term investment into the future of Chocolate Tree and will enable a much loved East Lothian building to continue being used for an artisan food business,” he said.

We are also going to purchase some traditional chocolate making equipment to enable us to make more chocolate and increase the positive environmental and social impact of our enterprise.

The way people interpret luxury chocolate is changing, and it needs to change. There is a lot of smoke and mirrors in the way luxury chocolate is made and sold and it is not that obvious to the customer what goes on behind the scenes. Our mission is to make that more transparent and easier to grasp.”

Northwest Chocolate Festival

Gower added, Chocolate Tree has been trying to create a movement in Scotland since 2005 to make luxury chocolate which is delicious, affordable, ethical and organic. 

He said they buy cocoa from farmers at a premium price, contributing towards biodiversity on small farms and protecting the endangered environment from deforestation. 

We sell organic chocolate and trade directly with the farmers. We travel around the world seeking the best cacao beans so customers can trace the origin of their chocolate bar right back to individual farms,” he added.

Our hand-made confectionery is an award-winning concept and we want to open new branches once we open the factory to work with more farmers and meet a growing demand for our products. We are also looking to expand into the US and we will be attending the Northwest Chocolate Festival in Seattle from November-12, 2017.”  

Chocolate Tree’s portfolio includes; Whisky Nibs chocolate bars, Madagascar; Peru; Coconut Milk; and Venezuela Porcelana 85%.

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