STARTUP STORY: McCLURE’S PICKLES

McClures Pickles Undiscovered Kitchen Blog

McClures Pickles Undiscovered Kitchen Blog

McClure’s Pickles handcrafts high quality and all-natural pickles, relish, potato chips, and bloody Mary mix. For brothers Bob and Joe McClure, it all began with their great grandmother’s pickle recipe. With it, the McClure brothers sought out the freshest ingredients to create the best tasting, hand-packed jars of pickles!

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The McClure’s brothers brought some of the experts from their family into the business with them. Their mother Jennifer, who started making pickles at a young age alongside her father, was the one who passed down the secret family recipe (It’s SO top secret in fact that she still hasn’t let her husband in on it.) She now helps out at the McClure’s factory. Bob and Joe’s father, Mike, is also a part of the business and uses his grocery and retail experience to help out his sons, and has always believed their family recipe could lead to something BIG!

McCLURES meal | UNDISCOVERED KITCHEN BLOG

The brothers offer two specialty pickle recipes and relish: 

  • Their Spicy Pickles are flavored with cayenne and habanero peppers (POW!) for a bold kick of flavor.
  • The Garlic Dill Pickles achieve a perfect balance of sour and savory in this classic pickle recipe.
  • To make their fresh relish they combine their two pickle varieties!

The McClure’s brothers don’t just stop at pickles. The brothers brainstormed about what to do with the delicious leftover pickle brine and came up with an original Bloody Mary Mix. McClure’s resourcefully uses pickle brine and combines it with tomato paste, fresh pressed cucumber juice, and other natural ingredients for a mix to be enjoyed on its own or with Vodka.

For fans who enjoy the pickle flavor without the jar, the brothers partnered with Detroit’s Better Made Snack Foods to bring the flavors of their Spicy and Garlic Dill flavors to crinkle cut potato chips.

Need some inspiration? Check out these McClure’s recipes for simple and fresh flavors:

McClures Pickles Undiscovered Kitchen Blog

Who are the business founders and when did you launch the business?

In 2006, brothers Bob and Joe McClure started McClure’s Pickles based on their great grandmother’s pickle recipe. They have evolved into an all-natural food manufacturer that produces items in the pickled foods, beverages and snack categories.

What inspired you to start your business?

It’s our great-grandmothers pickle recipe – we’ve been making them for a long time! It was our desire to start something that we could have creative control over, and believe strongly that we get out of it what we put into it.

What was your AHA moment?  

We have one every day!  Entrepreneurship for me is being able to listen to what’s happening around you and being able to make decisions based on the choices that you face.  Each day has it’s own learning curve.

Where do you currently make your product, and how did you find the process of finding a kitchen to be like?  

We make our products in Detroit, Michigan, and have offices and warehousing in New York.  Early on, it was difficult to find adequate space, as you have to manage materials and equipment that may not suit your process.  Eventually you either build out or find a contract manufacturer who has invested in the operations.

Did you have a background in the food and drink industry when you started?

My only background in food and drink is eating and drinking.  Both of our backgrounds are in arts and sciences.  I was a commercial actor in New York for a number of years doing spots for Verizon, Visa, Staples, Quiznos, etc.  Joe is a classically trained guitarist and composer, and also holds a PhD in physiology.

A business idea that was left on the editing room floor?

There are way too many to name.

What are some of rookie mistakes you made when starting out?

We still make them, but just try to make less of them because they only cost you more as you grow.

How do you stay motivated in the face of competition?  

We’re continuing to make our product “best in class” and stay ahead of the game in innovation for products, packaging, and customer relations.

What’s the strangest customer request or feedback you’ve gotten?  

This isn’t strange, but some consumers just don’t prefer the product, which is fine. We try to offer them another product we make and that is one of the reasons for diversification of product line because a consumer may or may not like one item, but may like another one that you produce.

What’s your main business goal for 2014?  

Strictly business, it’d be to increase top line revenue and keep costs stable as a percentage of sales.  Entrepreneurially, I’d say to deploy some of the larger-picture strategic branding ideas we have to connect with the consumer directly.

Where do you see the business in 10 years?  

We’d like to be a significant force in the all-natural food and beverage manufacturing sector.

What’s your team or company motto?

Aim to make the best tasting, high quality, all natural food, beverages and snack items on the marketplace.  Create a working environment that is honest and professional.

Advice for someone with a great artisan food or drink idea?  

Margo Channing in All About Eve said: “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!”

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