Smo.Fo Smoked Food Limited started life as the result of a misunderstanding.
“I’d been working as a butcher smoking my own meats for a while,” said Simon Barnes, of Totley, the director of Smo.Fo, which launched in Sheffield a little over a year ago.
“I’d built a smoke house in the city to cure my own bacon and had begun supplying pies and scotch eggs to pubs around Sheffield - getting myself a reputation as Simon the pie-man! Then one day, a customer of mine got his wires crossed and asked me to send him a selection of my smoked bar snacks. Rather than saying ‘I don’t do them,’ I said ‘yes of course!’
“I spent the next week researching and testing different receipes and, a week later, I sent him a line of snacks. That first line sold out over the course of one weekend and a lightbulb went on. I thought ‘I’m on to something here’.”
12 months on and Smo.Fo Smoked Food Limited has become a household name across the city, sold in more than 20 local pubs - including The Brothers’ Arms in Heely and The Clubhouse on London Road. Simon also supplies the whole Brewdog Chain, as well as pubs in London, Mansfield, Worksop and Scotland.
“I send out about 100 kilos of snacks a week,” said Simon, aged 34.
“Business has been booming, so I’m thrilled. I love working for myself and am just so pleased that the right idea hit at just the right time.”
Simon has a line of three different pub snacks: chilli dusted smoked roast corn, barbecue buffalo beans and - new this week - hickory-smoked pork scratchings. And he’s still a one-man band, working from his ‘engine room’ in Totley.
“The first year has been incredible, running a successful business like this is something I’ve always aspired to,” he said.
“But now I’m keen to build on everything I’ve achieved to date. I’m hoping to get Smo.Fo into more places throughout the UK, as well as taking the brand overseas. I’ve already been approached by a German supermarket this is keen to stock the brand. I think Smo.Fo is a great fit anywhere where there is good craft ales, as that’s what it was designed to go with.
And Simon says his brand means he’s never short of party favours when he’s heading over to a friend’s house.
“I just grab some smoked snacks from ‘the office’ and everybody’s pretty happy,” he laughed.