Meat Trades Journal travelled to Dorset to see what Brace of Butchers has been up to since it won at the Butcher's Shop of the Year Awards, and we weren't disappointed.
Open less than two years, Brace of Butchers in Dorchester has already established itself as a destination shop for locals.
Stocking more than meat, it also boasts a cheese counter, food to go offering and a selection of local beers, making it a butchers, a farm shop and a community hub all under one roof, making it little wonder it won the Best New Butchery Business Award at the 2015 Butcher's Shop of the Year Awards.
Owned by Tom Amery and Elle Matthews, branding is a key part of the shop's offering and it has created its own identity and built up a lot of goodwill with customers. During Meat Trades Journal's visit, there was so many people "just showing their friends around" and then leaving with a bag full of artisan produce.
That's not to say the business is overlooking the meat side. Run by Rob Owen and Ben Black, the produce is all sourced locally and displayed beautifully.
Adding to the theatre of the shop is the storage unit behind the butchery counter, giving customers a glimpse into the back of the business.
Last September, the shop won the new business award at the Butcher Shop of the Year competition and it hasn't rested on its laurels since then. As it preps to branch out into homemade ready meals and catering options, as well as barbecue products during what they hope will be a warm summer, sales in the shop are healthy. It reports that total sales are up 20% year-on-year, poultry sales are up 33% thanks to a focus on local free range produce, lamb sales are up 20%, beef has increased 8% due to interest from foodservice customers and pork/pork-related produce sales are up 4%.