Hard work pays off for Butcher’s Shop of the Year winners
Published:  15 November, 2013

Emotions were running high yesterday as Northern Ireland’s K & G McAtamney Butchery & Deli was declared the best butchery in the UK.

After winning the region, Kieran McAtamney’s family-run business stormed the competition by taking the coveted overall title, which Kieran attributed to the hard work carried out by its 54 staff members.

Speaking to MeatInfo.co.uk after the awards, which were arranged by Meat Trades Journal and held at Plaisterers’ Hall in London, Kieran said it was a surprise to win. “It’s amazing, absolutely amazing,” he added.

“It is amazing for all of our staff who are not here with us; everybody played their part. We’ve been going at this for 20 years to get to this stage. We’ve changed shops twice, so it has been a real effort and it has truly paid off.”

Megan McAtamney, who helps to look after accounts for the company, as well as working behind the counter at the weekends, added that everyone had worked so hard for the award and said it had been a real effort.
The judges said the business had “several strings to its bow”. Firstly, as a significant employer in the area and secondly, they were impressed with the scale of the operation, which includes a cutting plant. “The main Ballymena shop has a tremendous choice of meat, fish, deli products, lunchtime offerings and ready meals, none of which can be faulted in terms of presentation and quality,” they added.

Meanwhile, Helen and Nigel Ovens of Mearns T McCaskie, Wemyss Bay, Renfrewshire, took home the Butcher’s Plus Award, which recognises businesses that are more than a traditional butcher’s shop.

Nigel and wife Helen extended their shop to include a café next door, which they bought when it came up for sale. Judges said they turned the café into a “thriving business”, which has an outdoor, decked eating area that overlooks the ferry terminal.

“We’re just a small family business that aims to be the best,” Nigel said. “We’ve invested heavily to turn it into something special and we have a great team of chefs and staff in the café who are working hard to put it on the map for the café as well as the butcher’s.”

Helen said it was fantastic to win the award and admitted they were just pleased to be in the top three. “We’re over the moon, we’ll be publicising it with the local papers when we get back,” she added.

The younger generations were also recognised at the prestigious event, and taking home the award for Young Butcher of the Year was Andrew Peter, of Davidsons Specialist Butchers, Inverurie, Scotland.

Andrew said there were very few words available to say how happy he was to win the award, which is an aspiration among many of his peers. “It means absolutely everything, I’m elated and I can’t describe how happy I am. To be crowned the UK Young Butcher of the Year 2013 is just amazing. I’m just emotional. Every day I put in 120%,” he said. “I try my hardest to do the best I can do, plus more. I tried my hardest and it paid off.”

For more stories and videos from Meat Trades Journal’s Butcher Shop of the Year Awards keep reading MeatInfo.co.uk and look out for Meat Trades Journal Extra’s 6 December issue.

2013 Winners

Butcher’s Shop of the Year
K&G McAtamney Butchery & Deli

Scottish Butcher’s Shop of the Year
Forbes Raeburn

Northern Ireland Butcher’s Shop of the Year
K&G McAtamney Butchery & Deli

North of England Butcher’s Shop of the Year
Higginsons of Grange

Midlands & East of England Butcher’s Shop of the Year
G. Simpson Butchers

South of England Butcher’s Shop of the Year
Walter Rose & Son

Welsh Butcher’s Shop of the Year
T J Roberts & Son

Butcher’s Plus
Mearns T McCaskie

Farm Shop of the Year
Knitsley Farm Shop

Halal Butcher’s Shop of the Year
The Master Butcher Kensington

New Butchery Business of the Year
Ruby & White Butchers

Innovation of the Year
The Meat Merchant

Young Butcher of the Year
Andrew Peter, Davidsons Specialist Butchers

Lifetime Achievement
Graham Titchener