Finalists for Britain’s Best Butchers Shop revealed

Finalists for Britain’s Best Butchers Shop revealed

The much anticipated Meat Management Meat Industry Awards is fast approaching and amongst the twenty categories that are recognised at the ceremony on 15th September in Birmingham will be Britain’s Best Butchers Shop.

Judging concluded back in July and this year the four finalists are as follows:

Sumbler Bros – Marlborough, Wiltshire

A traditional high street shop in the market town of Marlborough. Co-owners Steve Frost and Steve Fernely run the business. Though a reasonably quiet town, Marlborough is situated conveniently just a few miles from the very busy junction 15 on the M4. The shop is 100 years old and has been in the ownership of the two Steves for the past 17 years.

All of its beef, lamb and pork is sourced locally. They produce their own cooked meats, pies, sausages and bacon on the premises. Everything sold in the shop such as condiments, sauces and dressings are produced locally and the intention is to support as many local businesses as possible.

Covid brought about difficult times and to help customers the business started doing home deliveries, free of charge, within a 15 mile radius. This has continued and at present they send out three full vans a week, which now accounts for approximately 35% of the shops sales.

Philip Warren and Son – Launceston, Cornwall  

The shop is located on an industrial estate just outside Launceston in Cornwall and is a continual hive of activity. Car parking is conveniently available around the side and back of the shop.

Before entering the shop, judges reported that there was a steady stream of customers buying fresh meat and another buying cooked hot pasties and pies from a side serving hatch, which was developed during Covid and has now become a really important feature.

Ian Warren, the owner, confirmed that meat supplies go the Warrens from their own beef farm, as well as benefiting from close relationships with numerous local farmers for its supply of lamb and pork.

The shop has long, modern serve over counters and the displays consist of mainly fresh, traditional cuts of beef, lamb, pork and poultry. They have occasionally featured some added value products, but in the main their customer base is very traditional.

On the opposite side of the road to the shop Philip Warren has its own cutting plant which is also very busy producing both cuts for the shop as well as for many outlets in the catering sector. The beef is matured in very carefully monitored refrigeration with one including a Himalayan salt chamber.

Jesse Smith Farm Shop – Cirencester, Gloucestershire

Described as a real surprise following the judging visit, the shop is situated on an industrial estate and the ‘Farm Shop’ title was a little mysterious at first. However, everything soon became apparent.

Ample off road parking for a few cars makes it very convenient. The entrance door to the shop is surrounded with flowers similar to a country cottage and on entering you walk along a plant and flower decorated passage before entering the ‘Farm Shop’.

The spectacle is truly amazing – a warm, friendly well laid out butchers shop with very well presented displays of fresh meat, added value products and a delicatessen. All pies and deli products are produced on site.

John Hawes, co-owner of the business and third generation of the family involved confirmed that as well as the farm shop they also have five other shops in the area. All of which are supplied with meat and products from the farm shop. The beef, lamb and pork sold in the business is reared and produced locally. All beef is dry-aged with many prime cuts being sold to the catering sector.

Until recently the farm shop also featured a restaurant but that meant that the car park was often full and this could make it difficult for shop customers to park. The space that the restaurant occupied is now open as a full onsite bakery. The company also undertakes outside hog roasts and customers can opt for a full service, or do it themselves.

Trussells Butchers – Knebworth, Hertfordshire

Trussells Butchers is a traditional high street shop in the village of Knebworth which has a population of approximately 5,000.

Parking is not plentiful but none the less there was a steady stream of customers throughout the time of our judging visit which was mid-morning on a Friday. The owner Paul Elleston gave an insight to the business.

He has owned the shop for about 25 years and has been a member of the Q Guild for three years. Carcase meat for the shop comes from different suppliers. The beef is from Scotland, the pork, free range, from Blythburgh and most of the lamb is from local farms. Paul is also considering at some point in the future, rearing his own lamb locally.

The shop features a hot counter and all pies and products are hand made and produced on the premises. The message is that everything sold in the shop is produced in the shop and that goes down very well with customers old and new.

Sell out event

Organiser of the annual Meat Industry Awards, Sharon Yandell said: “Once again we have some great finalists for this category and as with all our categories the winner remains confidential until the ceremony and dinner at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole on the evening of 15th September. No one is pre-informed and that adds to the anticipation. It’s going to be a great night of celebration and is heading towards being a sell-out occasion.”

To book your tickets or tables go to https://meatmanagement.com/awards-tickets.

Thank you to the official 2022 partners

The awards ceremony is subject to any ongoing government rulings on public assembly and therefore the organisers reserve the right to make appropriate changes if required affecting the date or venue, or the type of presentations made, at their absolute discretion.

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