SPREADING THE WORD OF SAN SEBASTIAN
San Sebastian offers bottles of Bangus Pate, Sardines, Chipirones, Baby Clams and Tuyo
Words by: Michael Emil S. Luchico
Imagine having the taste of Pinoy food conveniently packed and easily accessible in bottles and jars. Imagine having these delicious comfort food, which remind you of home, readily available for you to serve during your meals anytime you want to. It’s like your own personal Manila right in your cupboard.
That is what San Sebastian products offers to the market – a taste of Manila bottled up for your enjoyment anytime. We have a chat with San Sebastian owner, Mr. Dominic Alegrado, as he talks about this unique negosyo that caters well to the Filipinos’ taste buds.
Read on and learn more about the brand and the business. Who knows, you might even be able to put your very own successful negosyo.
Describe the products of San Sebastian?
Our products are manufactured under the strictest and safest manufacturing conditions and standards. Buying only from our selected few accredited suppliers, thus ensuring the freshness of our raw materials, which translates to freshness and quality in every bottle. Our facility is the first ever in Dipolog, Nothern Mindanao to be issued a HACCAP certificate – a food safety standard that NASA came up with to ensure the food safety of their astronauts in space.
Our products are best served straight from the bottle or mix to create new exciting dishes. For serving suggestions and ideas, please check our website at www.sansebastian.com.ph
What are the different flavors offered?
We have 18 different SKUs as follows:
1. Spanish style Sardines in Corn oil . This comes in 2 variants. Mild or hot and spicy
2. Spanish style Sardines in Olive oil. This comes in 2 variants. Mild or hot and spicy
3. Smoked Sardines in Corn oil
4. Sardines in Tomato Garlic sauce
5. Sardines Pate
6. Dried Herring (TUYO) with Garlic in Olive oil
7. Bangus (milkfish) in Olive oil. Hot and spicy
8. Smoked Bangus (milkfish) in Corn oil
9. Bangus in Tomato Garlic sauce
10. Bangus (milkfish) Pate
11. Almejas (baby clams) in Olive oil
12. Smoked Almejas (baby clams) in Olive oil
13. Chipirones (baby squid) Picantes
14. Chipirones (baby squid) ensu tinta
15. Sautéed Shrimp (Bagoong). This comes in 2 variants, sweet or hot and spicy
Aside from spreads and dips, do you have other products offered to the market?
Same answer as the ones mentioned above except those that are considered spreads and dips.
How did you come up with the idea of providing unique spreads and dips?
For the 2 spreads (Sardine and Bangus Pates), we thought some consumers would want the convenience of having it in a spread rather than in chunks or bigger pieces. It’s more of widening the consumers’ choice, in other words. I myself am one of those consumers who prefer the spreads. We also thought of coming up with the “not so usual” line up like the Almejas and Chipirones to excite the market. Proving that San Sebastian Seafood Specialties is not just another bottled Sardines manufacturer.
How are these products prepared?
In our HACCP and Halal certified facility, fish, clams, or baby squid from our accredited suppliers are sauteed in Olive oil with our special spices. It’s then slowly steamed and cooked before these are bottled. The finished products are then allowed to age for a month in our temperature controlled warehouse for flavor absorption.
What are the challenges of putting up this type of business?
The seasonality of the fish supply or what we commonly know as the Sardine Run has been one. Climate change has affected the season making it harder to predict the run. Sometimes it doesn’t come. Making the supply scarce and expensive.
Another challenge would be keeping up with the ever evolving and improving GMP standards (good manufacturing practice) as this can be costly as most of it involves constant facility and machinery upgrade and training. San Sebastian is very much updated and is aiming to be EU certified very soon.
Where and how can we purchase San Sebastian products?
We are widely distributed in the US. Check with the nearest Asian or Filipino stores near you. For direct orders or possible distributorship in your area, we can also be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or simply go to our website for more details.
Do you plan to expand and branch out to other products and/or venues?
Perhaps in the future. For now, we are focusing on bottled seafood products, our core competency.
If I were to put a similar business, can you give us tips on how to get started?
After 7 years in operation, we still find our facility to be under utilized during off-season. With the stringent ever-evolving international food standards that one has to comply with for export, putting up a facility can be very expensive. If you have plans of putting up a business with minimum investment, disseminate some of your leg work to us and we will toll pack for you. Your own brand, your own design.