First Butcher's Shop finalists revealed

The first round of judging is almost complete, and the first finalists in this year’s Butcher’s Shop of the Year can be revealed.

With a high level of entries into this year’s competition, judges had a tough time selecting three finalists in each category, and the standard of entries, as ever, was extremely high.

Ed Bedington, editor of MTJ, said: “Judging for this competition is always a tough challenge, as there are some superb shops coming through each year. It was great to see some new entrants coming forward for the first time, and quite a few completely new businesses to the trade.

“This competition is a fantastic barometer for the industry, and to see not only existing, superb operators thriving out there, but also great new businesses coming on stream is a real pleasure. I’d like to congratulate all the shops entering our competition and it’s only a shame we can’t put them all through to the final.”

The finalists in each category judged so far are:

Butcher’s Plus of the Year
Cranstons Quality Butchers, Penrith
Byfords Food Hall, Leigh-on-Sea
Premier Meats, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Farm shop of the Year
Huntleys of Samlesbury, Preston
Cwmcerrig Farm Shop, Llanelli
Keelham Farm Shop, Bradford

Innovation of the Year
O’Doherty’s, Enniskillen
Geo Middlemiss & Son, Otley
The Keen Meat Company, West Stour

Midlands and East of England Butcher’s Shop of the Year
G Simpson Butchers, Sleaford
Bradwell Butchery, Great Yarmouth
Aubrey Allen, Leamington Spa

North of England Butcher’s Shop of the Year
Nicholson’s Butchers, Nelson
Riley’s Butchers, Rossendale
J Brindon Addy Butchers, Holmfirth

Northern Ireland Butcher’s Shop of the Year
O’Doherty’s, Enniskillen
K & G McAtamney, Ballymena
Quails Fine Foods, Banbridge

Scottish Butcher’s Shop of the Year
Thomas Johnston Quality Butcher, Airdrie
S Collins & Son, Glasgow
Davidsons, Inverurie

South of England Butcher’s Shop of the Year
Walter Rose & Son, Devizes
Allens of Mayfair, London
Parson’s Nose, London

Welsh Butcher’s Shop of the Year
A J Rees & Sons, Narberth
H J Edwards of Abergavenny, Abergavenny
Douglas Willis, Cwmbran

Still to be judged are the Young Butcher of the Year and the Halal Butcher of the Year, with the finalists to be announced shortly.

The competition covers butchers’ shops around the country, with the winner in each region going head to head to see which one is declared the overall best butcher’s shop in the UK. With the majority of finalists now selected, our on-the-road judges will now start the process of visiting each of the shops in a bid to select the winner in each category, with the exception of the innovation category, which is judged purely on paper.

Bedington added: “Now comes the really hard work of picking a winner out of some of the best shops in the country. This competition is a great reminder of just how good some of the businesses are out there, and what a great industry this is.

“Each year we see the best of the best come forward, and while it’s a real challenge to decide on the winners, it’s a great privilege as well.”

This year’s awards are sponsored by Hybu Cig Cyrmu - Meat Promotion Wales, Eblex, Bpex, Weddel Swift & Harmony Farm, Lucas Ingredients, Verstegen Sauces & Spices, Tican Chilled, Meat Training Council and Quality Meat Scotland’s Scotch Butchers’ Club.

Entry forms for the awards have been sent out, or you can download a copy at www.meatinfo.co.uk.
For more information and details on the awards, contact Hannah Rosevear on 01293 610431, or email her at hannah.rosevear@wrbm.com.