The story of Remarkable Cream liqueur is just that – remarkable – and it has a 40-year family history.
It all began in the 70s when Bill Cameron, founder of ‘Robbie Burns Liquor’, attempted to make New Zealand’s very own cream liqueur.
When his attempts fell short, he instead decided to import ‘Conti-Cream’ from Australia, but his heart was still set on a locally made cream liqueur that would rival the Irish.
In the year 2000, his son Neil Cameron, who had followed in his father’s footsteps, successfully developed a recipe for a liqueur with New Zealand cream as the hero ingredient.
This product was sold in the South Island and enjoyed for many years by a small but enthusiastic bunch of customers.
Neil continued to make these cream liqueurs in central Otago and Dunedin, supplying locally, until he was forced to stop for health reasons.
Now Neil’s son William, is carrying on the family tradition, and has perfected the recipe for the cream liqueur to highlight the very best New Zealand ingredients, including a blend of fresh cream, butterscotch, and smooth whey vodka.
Despite growing up around his father’s recipe and spending hours helping to make it, Wills had never tasted much of it himself, so it wasn’t until he took a few bottles up to Auckland that he realised the potential it had to give other cream liqueurs a run for their money.
“I got it out to shops, and everyone went crazy for it,” he says.
It soon became clear that the New Zealand Food Innovation Networks’ Auckland-based FoodBowl facility was the perfect combination of accredited facilities and processing equipment that Wills needed to make his product.
To give it the chance it deserved, Neil decided to move up to Auckland to better support William, despite living and producing in Otago for most of his life.
Wills realised proper marketing and design would be required to match the quality and provenance. So, he set about designing his own branding featuring, appropriately, the iconic Remarkable ranges that the family had grown up skiing.
“When I first met The FoodBowl’s business development manager, Al Baxter, said: ‘It looks old fashioned Will, but not in a good way,’ which I completely agreed with,” says Wills.
But The FoodBowl wasn’t really set up for manufacturing alcohol, so progress was slow, and a year passed before production was able to get properly underway.
“There were lot of hurdles,” says Wills.
Finally in February 2021, all the necessary approvals had been granted and processing could begin.
However, the nature of the product itself requires very specific parameters and a specialist homogeniser, so it wasn’t to be smooth sailing just yet.
Production began with running the product through The FoodBowls’ machine only for the team to discover the product required processing so specific that is initially failed. Eventually, with some tweaking and experimentation, they managed to get the product stable.
After this slight setback, Wills decided to purchase and import his own 1m3/h high-pressure homogeniser. This would solve all his stabilising problems in the future, and he could lease it out to other manufacturers who might need it for a variety of reasons.
And with this decision, his secondary business Homogenise Now, was borne.
“Our main barrier to production for the cream liqueur has been access to a homogeniser with higher pressures than is required for milk and other dairy. In addition, while producing at The FoodBowl, we had some challenges with their machine which was a difficult position as in New Zealand there is no company that can bring a homogeniser to a site for ’emergency’ uses, or for validation/pilot runs.
“That is one good thing to come out of the challenges, as we are setting up the homogeniser (with pumps and filters etc) on a mobile setup to solve that problem for others.”
Wills has also been working with ProduCo food safety and regulatory compliance specialists, so other manufacturers can rest assured it is up to standard if they need to bring it onto their factory premises.
The FoodBowl’s Al Baxter says he is pleased to see a product being launched with a New Zealand story and provenance in the branding.
“Wills was great to work with – very professional and patient. He was very focussed on getting the job done properly and overcoming technical challenges.”
Not only that, but the product also has good export potential, says Baxter.
With all the hurdles the Cameron men have faced over the years to make such a technically difficult product, Remarkable Cream holds a special place in the family history.
“My dad has had health issues for the last few years. When he made the last batch of the previous product, he’d been very unwell and only just managed to pull it off,” says Wills.
“He made the batch, the pipes blew, and 500 litres went on the ground. He thought this was the end of the product. It had really broken him.
“To now see it coming back and hearing the great feedback he’s really happy and proud.”
Despite all the challenges, Wills isn’t one to cry over spilt milk, and remains more determined than ever to give Remarkable Cream the chance it deserves.
“There’ve been so many times that the business has been right on the edge. The product is hard to make, but to get it made properly is a really good feeling.”
To learn more about Homogenise Now visit: www.homogenisenow.nz