Leamington butcher wins title of best butcher
Published:  23 November, 2012

A Midlands-based retailer has taken the prestigious title of the UK's best butcher’s shop after beating off stiff competition from the best in the business at the annual Butcher’s Shop of the Year Awards.

Aubrey Allen won the Midlands & East of England category before taking the overall title at a lunchtime awards ceremony at London’s Landmark Hotel yesterday.

The judges described Aubrey Allen as a “fully mature business that shouts top restaurant-standard quality, but maintains good value” and commended the enthusiasm and sheer determination of the staff. As well as completing a “stunning” refit and increasing sales by 12% over the last 12 months, the business has recently embarked on a Customer Butchery School that teaches various craft and cookery skills.

Owner Russell Allen told Meat Trades Journal: “I think it’s the greatest accolade you can have. It’s really nice to be recognised by your peers, which is what this award is all about.”

Allen also explained that he intended to use the prestigious accolade as a marketing tool in the future and said it would give people more confidence to buy from Aubrey Allen as they will officially be “buying from the best”.

Other winners on the night included Alex Emmett of Allens of Mayfair, who was named Young Butcher of the Year. Alex impressed the judges with his passion and enthusiasm for the job, which has seen him progress up the ranks of responsibility quickly and become “a yardstick against which all new trainees are measured”.

Commenting on his win, Alex said: “To find a trade that’s got so much to offer is brilliant, I love the work,” he said. “The general interaction with the public keeps me going; the feedback I get when they come back and say they enjoyed something has kept me going from the start.”

The Butchers’ Plus Award, which recognises businesses that have expanded in some way beyond a traditional fresh meat butchers’ shop,  went to Pynes of Somerset. The judges said that by opening a new shop in stunning new premises, Malcolm Pyne had created “something special” - a modern, bright and airy food hall that was already attracting customers from across the south west region.

The winner of this year’s Innovation Award was Anthony Andrews Traditional Butchers for its creation of an in-pub ‘steak night’. The concept, which has proved a huge hit with locals, sees butcher Anthony Griffiths take his block to the pub, where customers are able to order their ideal steak. Accepting the award, Anthony said: “The steak night is just a sell-out. We’ve got the meat there on the block people can have the steak as thick as they want, we can talk about the cuts and it has taken people’s imagination.”

The award for Halal Shop of the Year went to Mullaco in Batley, Yorkshire, a family-business which has been going for over 40 years. Yousuf Mulla, who collected the award, said that winning would help take the business to the next level. He said: “The award means a whole new ball game and world. We have seen today what the people out there are doing at their butcher’s shops. It has given us standards to aspire to and other levels to reach - to broaden our horizons.

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The winners of each category in the Butcher’s Shop of the Year 2012 awards, were:

  • South of England – Meat N16, London
  • Midlands & East of England – Aubrey Allen, Leamington Spa
  • North of England – Riley’s Butchers, Rossendale, Lancashire
  • Wales – N S James and Son, Raglan
  • Northern Ireland – O’Doherty’s Butchers, Enniskillen
  • Scotland - S Collins & Sons, Muirhead, Glasgow
  • Innovation – Anthony Andrews Traditional Butchers, Derby
  • Halal – Mullaco, Batley
  • Butcher’s Plus – Pyne’s of Somerset, North Petherton
  • Farm Shop of the Year – Keelham Farm Shop, Bradford
  • Young Butcher – Alex Emmett, Allens of Mayfair, London
  • Butcher’s Shop of the Year 2012 – Aubrey Allen, Leamington Spa

For more information and photos of the awards ceremony, see our Butchers Shop of the Year Awards page.