'Huge step up' as Ocho expands

Chocolate will be coming off the conveyor belts of Dunedin's newest chocolate factory as early as next week, after the last of the manufacturing equipment was installed yesterday.

Ocho Chocolate general manager Liz Rowe said this time last year, the factory was just a dream, but the company had raised $2million from 3500 investors in 48 hours through crowdfunding platform PledgeMe.

Ocho Chocolate production manager Dan Trainor starts refining cocoa beans to turn into chocolate at the Dunedin company's new factory in Roberts St. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Ocho Chocolate production manager Dan Trainor starts refining cocoa beans to turn into chocolate at the Dunedin company's new factory in Roberts St. Photo: Peter McIntosh
About $500,000 of that had been spent on the new Italian-sourced manufacturing equipment and the rest was used to refurbish and create a production space in the new Roberts St factory.

''We're pretty excited about the fact that it's only a year since we did the crowdfunding, and we think we've made a huge amount of progress.

''All of this building has been fitted out, the machinery has been bought and installed, and we're ready to start making chocolate next week.

''We're pretty proud of that. The team has worked incredibly hard.''

Ms Rowe said an Italian engineer would visit the factory next week to set the machinery up and make sure it was running correctly before production began.

Once the machinery was running at capacity, it would be able to manufacture up to 200kg of chocolate per day.

Previously, the company was only producing 90kg per week at its Vogel St facility, she said.

''So for us, it's a huge step up.

''But we're still a craft chocolate maker - we're still making small-batch chocolate.''

As part of the refurbishment, a large observation area with large windows had been created in the middle of the factory, to allow tourists to view the production process, she said.

''Our object is, when we start showing people through on tours, we tell them exactly what we do.

''We want to de-mystify the whole chocolate-making process and be completely transparent about what goes into the chocolate.''

It was hoped tours of the premises would start early next year.

Ms Rowe said the Vogel St premises would likely be closed and all operations transferred to Roberts St, but a date for that was still to be confirmed.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

Comments

I wish they would make a less bitter line of chocolate.

 

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