The market for premium, farm-raised oysters has grown rapidly since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
In the years since that disaster, a new breed of oysterman has emerged, using modern aquaculture techniques to restore the environment, rebuild working waterfronts and revive local varietals of oyster that, in many cases, haven't been seen in decades.
Demand for these farmers' products is brisk, but it remains limited close to home, with most Gulf Coast consumers still viewing oysters as a commodity, rather than a luxury product.
We wanted to change this perception.
We created Peat & Pearls as a platform to share these farmers' stories and showcase their products in a setting that reinforced their luxury status.
We partnered with Oyster South to recruit oyster farmers from across the Gulf Coast, paired them with some of the region's top chefs and built brand alliances with Glenfiddich, Glencairn Crystal Studio and Alec Bradley cigars.
The result was a two-day celebration of Scotch and regional, farm-raised oysters, held at the picturesque Barkley House, in the colonial-era seaport of Pensacola, Florida.
In its first year, Peat & Pearls attracted 15 oyster farmers from across the Gulf Coast, a dozen chefs hailing from New Orleans to NYC and roughly 300 affluent consumers.
Our promotional efforts leading up to the event reached an estimated 50,000 people on social media and resulted in press coverage that reached more than a half-million readers. We accomplished all of this in just four months.