May 6, 2021

Game of Thrones success fuels expansion for Cheshire food producer

An award-winning food producer from Cheshire is set to unveil a brand-new product range – handcrafted from premium and exotic meats. Weston residents Sheryl and Ryan Walker have been making and selling biltong – a form of South African dried, cured meat – for nearly five years.

Having won ‘Best Small Food Producer’ at the 2019 Taste Cheshire Awards, The Weston Biltong Company saw demand soar after its biltong was featured on the Emmy award-winning fantasy drama Game of Thrones.

“Global visibility in the ‘Seven Kingdoms’ was exciting!” said Sheryl, 46, whose parents moved to South Africa more than a decade ago.

“To build on our success, we are now unveiling The Cheshire Biltong Company. Our vision with this new venture is to create a line of luxury biltong snacks that are as welcome in high-end bars as they are in the finest picnic hampers. From beef sirloin and ostrich to kangaroo and venison, we look forward to bringing new, exotic tastes to market.”

Working out of a central hub at Radway Green Business Park in Crewe, where all packing and distribution takes place, the couple’s business had humble beginnings in their family kitchen.

“I fell in love with biltong when we went out to visit Sheryl’s parents in 2008,” said Ryan. “I tried supermarket varieties back home but, to me, nothing tasted as good. My mother-in-law sent me a biltong dryer with a note that said: ‘Make your own then!’ We rose to the challenge and, with time, we had ten dryers going in the kitchen and a viable business on our hands. Everything we have done since has very much been a logical progression. Having originally set out to make 50kg of biltong a week, we now process around six tonnes a month!”

From winning the 2018 Dabbers’ Den competition – co-hosted by Cheshire East Council, NatWest, Howard Worth Chartered Accountants and Poole Alcock Solicitors – to being finalists at the South Cheshire Chamber Business Awards the following year, Sheryl and Ryan say they are proud to have consistently made a mark on the county.

“Weston has been our home for more than 25 years,” added Sheryl. “Our teenaged children Jake and Charlotte are Cheshire born and bred, and we recruit all of our employees, affiliates and freelancers from within the county.

Sheryl and Ryan Walker

“Our venison for The Cheshire Biltong Company comes from Tatton Park and is butchered for us by Chestnut Meats in Nantwich. We are continuing to explore opportunities to source our other premium and exotic meat products as locally as possible, as well as inviting enquiries from potential stockists from within Cheshire’s ‘Golden Triangle’ and beyond. Looking to the future, we may also look to develop a range of beers and wines to pair with our luxury biltong.”

The Cheshire Biltong Company website will officially launch on 6th May.

For more information visit www.thecheshirebiltongcompany.co.uk.