The Gospel of Murder Point Oysters: How to build a boutique seafood business

Posted On August 20, 2019

Boutique businesses are all the rage. From craft beer and small batch bourbon to organic produce and specialty cheeses, small operations that reach and build followings among specific segments of the market are thriving in a number of industries.

But seafood? How do you build a following for that?

Our guest in a recent episode of “What’s Working With Cam Marston” knows how. Lane Zirlott of Murder Point Oysters and his family got into the oyster business almost accidentally and have built a brand that is now being asked for by name.

Zirlott comes from a successful family of shrimpers that was inspired by an aquaculture class to try its hand at oyster farming. Since then, their Murder Point Oysters have developed quite the reputation. They’ve been featured on several Food Network shows and at the Beard House in New York City, and they were the featured oyster recently at the South Beach Food & Wine Festival.

The oysters that come from the waters off the Alabama coast are the same species, Zirlott says, but they aren’t all the same. Through farming oysters, a business like Zirlott’s can have some control over how an oyster grows and, ultimately, what it tastes like.

“Anybody can grow an oyster. But with these boutique oysters, you’re raising oysters,” Zirlott says. “You get out there and you talk to them. You’ve got them named. You know who’s got a little problem this week, who’s growing a little faster, who needs a little help. And it reflects in the end product.

“When you know people are watching you, when you know people are looking for your product, they’re asking for it by name – these high-end restaurants and high-end oyster bars — it makes you take pride in it.”

Zirlott shares a little about the process of raising Murder Point Oysters, how he and his family built business by sneaking in the back doors of New Orleans restaurants, how he uses social media to develop relationships with chefs, the “R Month Myth” and whether it’s really a myth, and how aquaculture helped write the gospel of the Southern oyster: “A Southern Oyster can hold its own against any oyster in the world.”

Join us for a tasty conversation about oysters and building a boutique business.

Categories: Entrepreneurship, What's Working with Cam Marston, Work