News from the Maine Lobster Promotion Council

First published in Landings, January, 2013.

Maine Lobster Guide app is finally here!

Now tourists and locals alike can easily find out where to buy Maine lobster, what restaurants are serving Maine lobster, fabulous lobster recipes and other cooking information while on the go with the new Maine Lobster Guide iPhone app. The Maine Lobster Promotion Council worked with Maine Office of Tourism, which fully funded the project, to develop an iPhone app that draws on content found on the MLPC web site. Maine Tourism produced original content for the app, short video interviews with lobstermen and dealers that provide a personal face to the industry. To download the free app to your iPhone, click on the ‘app store’ icon and search for ‘Maine Lobster Guide’ by the Maine Office of Tourism.

MLPC becomes more social

For many years the MLPC has maintained a popular Web site for lobster customers and consumers, providing information on where to buy lobster, both online and in Maine, how to cook and handle lobster, and a popular recipe database. After analyzing Web traffic, we realized that more people expect information to be delivered to them through social media. So the MLPC has begun sharing information through four leading social media networks – Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest. Our social media presence is expanding our reach to consumers and customers and also driving traffic back to our website.

Here’s how you can connect with us:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LobsterFromMaine

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/LobsterFromME

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/LobsterFromME

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LobsterFromME

Chef ambassador teaches lobster to his peers

Throughout the year, MLPC sponsors chefs at special events in order to promote Maine lobster to target groups and to emphasize key attributes of Maine lobster. Chef Wilfred Beriau, American Culinary Federation (ACF) Educator of the Year and former head of the SMCC Culinary Arts program, presented on behalf of the MLPC at the ACF Akron-Canton Cooks and Chefs Association as part of their Visiting Chefs series. Chef Beriau is a proponent of Maine lobster who frequently volunteers his time to educate chefs, culinary students and consumers about Maine’s signature seafood. With his brother, Chef Michael Beriau, Chef Will demonstrated a bevy of Maine lobster dishes including lobster potato pancakes, lobster with caramel fennel, lobster chorizo-stuffed squid, coddled eggs with lobster sherry and cream, and lobster with caramelized fennel. An audience of approximately 60 professional chefs and culinary students learned all about lobster at this fast-paced seminar.

Maine lobster to be featured in champagne campaign

The U.S. Champagne Bureau has launched a national ad campaign as part of a large-scale effort to reclaim its name in the U.S. marketplace. The issue of origin is also important for Maine lobster, which why the MLPC was happy to have Champagne use Maine lobster in their campaign. Posing the question “Maine Lobster from Kansas?” the ad reminds consumers of the importance of authenticity and knowing the true origins of food products.

The ads will appear in the print and digital formats of The New Yorker, Food & Wine, and Travel + Leisure magazines;on billboards in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.; and online on Web sites including The New York Times, Vanity Fair, GQ and The Wall Street Journal.

“This campaign uses humor and well-understood U.S. location-based products to encourage consumers to take a moment and consider the authenticity of what they are buying,” Sam Heitner, director of the Champagne Bureau said in a release. “U.S. consumers are savvy, and this reminds them to say ‘of course not’ when faced with products that lack authenticity and to seek out products that come from unique places like Champagne from Champagne, France, Maine lobsters from Maine and Napa Valley wines from Napa Valley, California.”

Lobster Lovers Campaign deemed a success

MLPC kicked off the Maine Lobster Lovers Campaign in August and ran the promotion through the end of the year in an effort to heighten interest in Maine lobsters during this year’s abundant harvest. Participating businesses featured lobster specials, cash mobs, contests, giveaways and special prize packages. The MLPC provided participating businesses with promotional materials and kicked off the whole promotion with a four-week advertising campaign.

More than 80 businesses took advantage of the promotion, with more than 1,000 people sending in entry forms. Andy’s Pub in Portland participated in the promotion. “We liked it because it really did help us sell more lobster. We could talk about lobster with our customers and we really enjoyed it,” said Jennifer Fox at Andy’s Pub in the Old Port.

The Boothbay Harbor "Claw Down" chefs brought out the lobster fans. And the chefs had a good time as well! Photo courtesy of MLPC.

The Boothbay Harbor “Claw Down” chefs brought out the lobster fans. And the chefs had a good time as well! Photo courtesy of MLPC.

The Lobster Lovers celebration also included many events in coastal towns, like the Lobsterpalooza in Rockland. This event was the brainstorm of the four Historic Inns of Rockland. The weeklong event involved nearly 40 restaurants, spas and retail stores offering everything from a free lobster with special spa treatments to a lobster off the boat from Captain Jack’s Lobster Adventures.

The Boothbay Harbor Chamber of Commerce held its first “Claw Down.” More than 18 restaurants participated in the event during which local chefs had to come up with the best lobster bite. Micah Jones of Brown’s Wharf Inn as the Judge’s Choice Award in a blind judging competition for the Claw Down Chef of the Year. Fiona Dunlap of the Newagen Seaside Inn & Restaurant was voted as the People’s Choice Award winner of the Claw Down competition event that kicked off Restaurant Week. The judges’ pick was Brown’s Wharf Inn Executive Chef Micah Jones’ creation, a Polenta and Truffle Lobster Bite, fresh lobster meat served over a sun-dried tomato and polenta cake, finished with lobster sauce and truffle oil.