Leeds Butchers Win Top National Award
Wilsons Butchers of Crossgates in Leeds have just been named Britain’s Best Butchers Shop 2013 by the leading industry trade magazine Meat Management. Brothers, John and Andrew Green, have been proprietors of the business since taking over 28 years ago.
This is a national award and once Wilsons were nominated on the short list they were visited by two prominent members of the meat trade, who judged the shop on all aspects of the businesses. This included Quality of product, Butchering standards, display, staff knowledge and customer service.
"As well as being a great accolade for our shop and staff, it is also good for the area and helps keep Crossgates on the map at a time when the big national supermarkets are eroding local shops and towns." Said John
"We employ over 25 staff in the Crossgates shop and this is also a testament to their hard work and loyalty." Said Andrew
Many of Wilsons Staff have been with the company now for over ten years with some been there for over twenty. This as well as the drive from John and Andrew, has helped the business keep with the times and hopefully continue to do so for many years to come.
Andrew went on to say,
"Winning this award is testament to our decision to make the big changes to the shop when it would have been more comfortable to have stayed as we were.
It is also testament to our hard working and loyal staff without who we would not be the shop we are."
The boy's father, Bob Green was there with his two sons at the awards and with the addition of John’s son Adam, who runs Wilsons Pie factory, three generation of the family were represented. Bob, who retired in 1994, has often been roped in since and is always on standby, even today.
|In the photo from left to right is John Green, Bob Green, Adam Green, and Andrew Green|
Wilsons new store now open!
We have just recently completed a major expansion and facelift to our Crossgtes shop. By taking the
property next door, which was a launderette, and knocking through to double the size of the shop area,
creating a great shopping experience for our customers. We have also built a new fresh meat prep area
onto the back of the new butchery side of the shop so that we can now have total separation of raw
and cooked products.
After much deliberation we came to the decision to change over to a checkout system where customers
can brows the displays and get products from the butchery and the deli and then pay for it all in one go.
This is especially convenient if customers pay by credit/debit card.
For the official opening we asked an old friend of ours, Celebrity chef, Brian Turner, to "Cut
the sausages" and generally meet our customers and pose for a few photos. This turned out to be a
great day and we would like to thank Brian for taking time out of his busy calendar to take part.
The new shop now includes a hot counter, which is home to a freshly cooked joint ,each lunchtime,
from which we carve our hot sandwiches. The most popular being roast pork, stuffing and apple sauce.
This new counter also makes it possible for us to serve Pie and Peas, as well as bacon and sausage
Our new in house chef has also settled in and is creating a range of freshly prepared ready meals,
Pasta Salads, and family size pies.
Also for your convenience we now open Sundays from 10am to 4pm and are pleased to say each passing
Sunday is busier than the one before. This should be especially handy for local customers when the sun
comes out in summer and a last minute BBQ is planned.
Come along and visit the new Wilsons, we are sure you won’t go away empty handed!!
Leeds butcher is new Yorkshire president
|Leeds butcher Andrew Green is the new president of the Confederation of Yorkshire Butchers Councils.|
Andrew, of Wilsons Butchers in Crossgates, takes over from outgoing president, Ilkley butcher David Lishman.
One of his key roles during his year in office is to host the confederation president's annual dinner dance of the
eve of the 24rd annual Great Yorkshire Pork Pie, Sausage & Products Competition, at Cedar Court Hotel, Bradford,
which this year takes place on Sunday, November 4.
Andrew and his brother John established the Austhorpe Road shop in 1985 and have since
opened new pie shops in both Morley and Armley, along with a production bakery in
Wilsons Butchers remains one of the best-known pie makers in the country, regularly
producing and selling over 10,000 pork pies a week, as well as running a thriving online mail
order business at www.wilsonsbutchers.co.uk
Wilsons has won numerous accolades in the meat industry awards arena, being named the
best butchers shop in England in 2005, also being crowned National Barbecue Champion. It
regularly enters the Great Yorkshire competition, winning prizes for its pork pies virtually on
an annual basis and lifting the small pork pie championship three times between 1999 and
Wilsons is a long-standing member of the national Butchers Q Guild, which represents some of the
country’s leading independent meat retailers – the Q stands for quality. Andrew said: "The Great Yorkshire
is the UK’s biggest and best-known regional contest for meat men and women, attracting hundreds of entries
from all over the county. All winners, supreme and reserve champions in particular, receive a major boost
to both their profiles and sales."
Farm shops and bakers who make products on their own premises are also eligible to enter. There are three
pork pie classes for traditional, stand and speciality cold eating pies, and three sausage classes – thin, thick
and speciality, plus standalone championship classes for black puddings and beef burgers.
A ‘New Kid on the Block’ class for the best newcomer to the competition is designed to encourage new blood to
enter and gain valuable experience in the meat trades competition arena. Full details are at www.greatyorkscomp.co.uk
Top of the shops
National accolade caps best year ever for Wilsons
Wilsons Butchers has been named the best butcher's shop in England.
It is one of the biggest single accolades in the history of the long-established traditional family butchers
business - and caps a great year in which Wilsons has notched up other high profile award wins and successes.
Partner brothers Andrew and John Green comment: "This prestigious award really is the icing on the cake in what has
been one of, if not the most memorable year ever.
"We cannot thank our customers and staff enough for making it all possible."
Wilsons scoops national Top Shop award
Wilsons Butchers was one of 20 shops from throughout the country to win through to the finals of the prestigious
national Top Shop Awards, run by the Meat Trades Journal and held at the Dorchester Hotel in London.
To win it goes down as one of the business's most memorable achievements - and these have certainly been legion.
What the judges said
Members of the Women's Food and Farming Union judged the shops, assisted by trade experts.
Criteria included the quality and variety of meats on sale, attractiveness of displays, helpfulness and knowledge of
staff, hygiene, how well the business worked with its suppliers in the food chain, and the contribution it made to
its local community.
The judges said Wilsons was a superb business. They concluded: "Brothers John and Andrew Green, who have run the shop
for 20 years, say the main reason customers like it is trust, its good working practices and its integrity.
"They have built a great reputation for quality pies, selling 10,000 pork pies a week. A major meat group has also used
the business to develop and trial a new brand of extra mature beef called Ridings Reserve, a great example of supply-chain
co-operation. The brothers gave feedback on the meat that resulted in the final specification. Today, it is a top
selling product in the shop."
For judging purposes, England was split into five regions, with Wilsons beating three other North East finalists to win
the regional award, before going on to land the national title.
Strengths of the business
One of the major strengths of the business has been to establish and develop successful field-to -plate partnerships
with local farmers, allowing Wilsons Butchers total quality control when sourcing its meat products, coupled with
Andrew Green explained: "More and more of our customers are wanting to know exactly where the meat they eat comes
from and we are very happy to provide them with this information.
"We are over the moon to be voted the best butchers shop in England. It's very much an all-round team success."
Editor of the Meat Trades Journal Fred A'Court added: "The close working relationships that many butchers have with
their local and regional food supply chain networks are an important part of the awards.
"They are extremely valuable to the economy of the region they cover.
"The Top Shop Awards continue to reflect the reason why so many people continue to shop with their local butcher
and the very high quality of business skills that those in the independent sector possess."
A title won on trust- plus a top-notch Wilsons team
Wilsons partners John and Andrew Green comment:
"It is a real honour in being chosen as the top butcher's shop in England.
"When we entered the latest competition, the rules required that we gave other reasons why people came to our shop,
apart from quality products and customer service, which were taken as read.
"We racked our brains to think of a way to best describe why our customers like us - and decided it was because they
trusted us. We are convinced this is what helped us win the title.
"We have had so many people write, phone and e-mail to congratulate us - customers and other butchers - from all four
corners of the country, with many people also asking how they can get hold of out multi award-winning pies and other
"In fact, this is one of the prime reasons why we have upgraded the Wilsons website - so that our growing band of
customers both near and far can learn all about our business, its products and services.
"This latest Top Shop success also recognises and acknowledges the skills and commitment of our valued staff, who
are proud to know that they are working in the best butcher's shop in England - and have all actually contributed
personally to this overwhelming accolade.
"We could never have done it without them."
Pioneering Wilsons Butchers has launched a brand-new specialist arm of the business - "Wilsons Butchers - The Big One"
- a unique range of personalised Celebration Pork Pies.
These hand-crafted and baked half a stone and more whoppers - see example above - are ideal for all special occasions.
In fact, word of the initiative is spreading near and far and Wilsons has already commissioned a number of high profile
Celebration Pork Pies.
"Wilsons Butchers - The Big One," the business's brand-new range of Celebration Pork Pies, is set to take the country by
storm, if early reaction is anything to go by.
The initiative by Yorkshire's pork pie kings and No 1 butchers shop in England is thought to be unique.
Personalised "Gigantic Growlers" are now available for all special occasions - weddings, birthdays, in fact any celebration
where people want something that's completely different and innovative.
|One of our now famous personalised pies|
Wedded bliss pork pie-style from England's best butcher
Wilsons launch a range of three-tier pork pie wedding cakes - and a big, big reception is anticipated for the upper crust
offerings. The pie-oneering post-nuptial feast is among a brand-new line-up of celebration pork pies from Wilsons Butchers,
of Crossgates, Leeds, voted the best butchers shop in England for 2005-06. Partner Andrew Green said: "Since we were chosen
as Yorkshire pork pie-making champions in 2005, our pie sales have soared and we are now producing around 10,000 of them
each and every week. "We are always looking to extend and improve our ranges and hit upon the novel idea of a collection
of giant size celebration pork pies, which are already proving in big demand the length and breadth of the country. "The
pork pie wedding cakes, hand-crafted in our own in-house bakery, come in squares of ascending sizes of either 7, 9 and 11
inches or 5, 7 and 9 inches. They can even be personalised to include names, date and a suitable message." Wilsons'
"gigantic growlers" also include a 10 inch, 7lbs round celebration pie for birthdays and other special occasions, plus a
traditional rectangular gala pie, again weighing in at a whopping 7lbs. The celebration pies and other award-winning
products can be ordered through Wilsons' online shop at www.wilsonsbutchers.co.uk
|Andrew and John Show off one of their Pork Pie Wedding Cakes!|
The range incorporates:
10 inch Round
- One Size, approx 7lbs weight, ideal for parties of all kinds.
- Can be personalised with a chosen message.
- Ascending sizes of approx 5lbs, 7lbs and 9lbs.
- Available individually or as a three-tier Pork Pie Wedding Cake for wedding receptions with a real difference!
- Can again be personalised to include names, date and/or message.
- Price details available from the shop.
Traditional gala pie
- Rectangular Pork Pie ideal for slicing.
- Available with or without egg.
- Approx 7lbs weight.
Wilsons partner Andrew Green said: "Orders for our Celebration Pork Pies are already coming in thick and fast from all over
the place. We even had an order for a birthday party in Worcester.
"Our reputation as pork pie makers is second to none in the industry sector and we believe we have identified a niche
market with The Big One.
"We are confident there is a major opportunity to promote this specialist arm of the business locally, regionally and nationally."
As champion pie-makers, there's no doubt that Wilsons Butchers has mastered the pie-makers art. This latest initiative
allows them to be even more creative.
|Champions Again! Andrew Green receives the Pie Champ award!|
Wilsons Celebrates Awards Galore
The awards for Wilsons' Butchers just keep on rolling in.
While being voted the Top Butchers Shop in England for 2006 is obviously the icing on the cake, there have been numerous other
industry-related accolades over the years, more particularly in the past year or so.
More recent meat industry "Oscars" also include:
- Supreme championship Pork Pie Appreciation Society 2005 - following this success, pork pie sales soared by a whopping 50%,
and has been maintained since. Wilsons also landed yet another trophy in this year's competition.
- Thin Pork Sausage Champions and Reserve Supreme Sausage Champions, 2005 Great Yorkshire Pork Pie, Sausage and Black Pudding
Competition - sausage sales increased by 30%, again demonstrating the value of a high-profile success.
- Gold for pork pies in 2006 National Pork Pie Competition, Birmingham NEC - see certificate left.
"Without doubt, it's been our best year ever - an annus magnificus," notes Wilsons partner Andrew Green.
|Wilson's Butchers John, left, and Andrew Green, right, receive their Great Yorkshire championship sausage
awards from Confederation of Yorkshire Butchers Council president George Haigh, and Michael Beaumont, president of the National
Federation of Meat & Food Traders.|
Fostering free range meat partnerships
Ever keen to both develop new and cement existing "field-to-table" supplier partnerships with local meat producers, Wilsons
Butchers has strengthened trading links with two well-known producers of quality free-range meats.
One of Wilsons' long-term suppliers of prime lambs has been Ilkley-based wholesale butchers Rowland Agar, a family firm with
over 35 years experience.
The company recently launched a new initiative known as "Three Dales," which sources high quality meat from local family farms
across Wharfedale, Airedale and Nidderdale area.
Three Dales produce is sold exclusively through independent butchers within 25 miles of Ilkley - butchers like Wilsons. It
cannot be bought in a supermarket!
Partner Andrew Green says that enhancing the trading partnership with Agars is a natural progression following the setting
up of the Three Dales project, particularly with new season Spring lambs now becoming more readily available.
He explains: "Customers should keep an eye open for Three Dales-ticketed products, which not only represent excellent value
for money to our customers, but also peace of mind too.
"When you see the Three Dales mark, you can be assured livestock has led a healthy, happy and natural life on local farms
without being forced, stressed or transported vast distances to market. We believe this is reflected in the outstanding flavour,
tenderness and consistent high quality of Three Dales meat."
Wilsons is now sourcing more and more top-notch Outdoor Reared pork from local pig farmers They are kept outdoors in welfare-friendly conditions and have plenty of space in which to roam about, root and wallow.
The pigs are fed on a balanced diet of high quality non-GM feed, especially designed for outdoor pig production.
Free range Yorkshire Riding Extra Mature Beef, sourced from reputable farm-based suppliers across the Yorkshire Ridings, continues to be in ever-increasing demand by appreciative Wilsons customers.
The taste is just out of this world.
Enquire in the shop for full details.