Brace of Butchers wins national Best Butcher award

The Brace of Butchers in Poundbury, Dorset has been named the UK’s Best Butcher in the 2020 Farm Shop & Deli Awards.

Spanning eleven categories, including the coveted ‘Newcomer of the Year’ gong (won by the Brace of Butchers in 2017) the awards, held in partnership with respected trade magazine The Grocer, were founded to recognise the very best standards in speciality retail and to celebrate the highest levels of service, product knowledge, initiative, innovation and community involvement.

Chair of the judges, foodie, broadcaster and presenter, Nigel Barden commented: “From a fantastic collection of speciality retailer finalists, dedicated to artisan quality, service and the communities they serve, we now have the very best of the best! What a fabulous group of winners they are; shining beacons in their respective fields – truly 2020’s finest!”

Tom Amery, MD of the Brace of Butchers said: “We’re naturally delighted to have won the title of Best Butcher 2020.  We set up Brace of Butchers from nothing in terms of premises or organisation, but I strongly believe it’s the team you create that provides the seed from which everything can grow and enables the development of something exciting, and worthy of winning some great awards.  I thank the staff for their commitment and enthusiasm but also the fabulous customers who inspire and encourage us to try new things and to go the extra mile.”

The dedicated team has worked hard to make the Brace of Butchers the success it is, and the numbers speak for themselves; in the last year it saw a 28% increase in turnover and a rise in footfall of over 10,000 visits.

The popular family butcher is recognised for its affordable quality and exceptional service.  The specialist butchers, Rob, Ben  and Owen, have a very close relationship with local suppliers and farmers and provide some of the best products available. Unlike supermarkets which purchase separate cuts from several sources, The Brace of Butchers procure entire animals from local farmers which they believe to be respectful and responsible purchasing.  The meat is then skillfully aged in-house to improve the texture and flavour before the skilled work starts turning whole sections into all the fantastic cuts you cannot get everywhere. In this way the shop offers over 64 cuts of meat providing unrivalled choice and variety, while many of their in-house prepared products are also gluten free.

As one customer put it: “Simply the best meat in the finest shop in Dorset with butchery at its best.”

In addition to the finest butchery, the shop has teamed up with some of the best local producers, importers and foodies to offer bread, vegetables, beers and ciders, gin and sparkling wine, game, smoked seafood, beautiful cheeses, fresh baked goods and a fantastic range of local and international charcuterie.  This range has allowed the No butchery team to develop a fantastic array of home cooked ready meals and lunchtime solutions developed by Chef Mark with Nuala, Tara, Henry and Julie.

In November 2018 The Brace of Butchers introduced a new section in store called ‘Naked Brace’. Here customers buy their produce totally free of single use plastic, bringing their own containers to weigh, fill and label what they want to buy for themselves.  The scheme began with just meat but has now extended into refillable milk bottles and raw honey, refill dispensers of grocery lines and an array of unpackaged fruit and vegetables.

This initiative has proved extremely popular with customers: “Brace of Butchers have got it right; a wonderful place to enter, full of fabulous locally sourced food.  We get our milk from there now, refilling glass bottles each time.  It’s a community hub pushing green ways of shopping and recycling – we love it!”

The judges for the Farm Shop & Deli Awards who visited The Brace of Butchers, mirrored the praise of the customers: “They continue to show significant increases in turnover and footfall, while embracing plastic free and environmentally friendly practices, such as reusable packaging and refillable milk stations.  A fabulous, modern shop with a smart website, good community links and a customer-first approach.”

In the last 2 weeks they have also provided a Home delivery service to residents in two postcode areas.  This is run by Hannah and Grace and has grown the customer numbers further and those new patrons of the business are delighted with the over the phone ordering and personal attention to detail and quality.

Here are some quotes from customers in the last 7 days “I am assisting with food boxes, community support etc.   I have been hearing how much you and Brace are doing.  Just wanted to say THANK YOU – our community survives on people like you” and “Our first order delivered 2 days ago while in self-isolation. Fantastic service from phone call to delivery. You are lifesavers – thank you.”