O’Gorman’s Meats in Castledermot, Kildare has this evening been named Butcher Shop of the Year by Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland (ACBI).

On the opening day of food, retail and hospitality expo, Food & Hospitality Ireland, taking place at the RDS, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring TD presented O’Gorman’s Butchers with the top accolade.

More than 100 craft butchers from across Ireland entered the Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland’s Shop of the Year awards, with the top 20 shops being selected by an independent panel of judges. Each of the top 20 craft butcher’s shops was mystery shopped and judged on its performance from a customer’s viewpoint.

Dave Lang, Development Manager with ACBI explained: “This is the fourth year of our Shop of the Year awards and entries have been growing steadily since the awards were launched. There’s a great deal of prestige in being named as the best butcher’s shop in Ireland, therefore, each of our entrants puts a great deal of effort into making sure their store is the best. The standard gets higher every year and you have to be on top of your business to get into the top 20.

“Our independent judges mystery shop each of the butcher’s shops in the manner of the customer.  Of course, hygiene, cleanliness and the quality of the products are all crucial but the judges also look for evidence of traceability, how they are treated in-store, the availability of recipes, and general helpfulness and friendliness of the staff. It’s the whole package, which is why winning Butcher Shop of the Year carries such kudos for our members.”

In business for almost 50 years, O’Gorman’s Meats is a family business, run by brothers, James and Niall O’Gorman. It was founded by the brothers’ father, Jim O’Gorman, in 1968 and is now a family-run wholesale and retail business.

Two years ago, despite the downturn, Niall and James O’Gorman decided to completely revamp O’Gorman’s Meats retail business, even closing the main shop for four months. This has resulted in a state-of-the-art butchers shop which offers fresh, local meat and many other artisan products to its customers, including other butchers in the Leinster area.

In the category accolades, O’Gorman’s also won ‘Best Rural Butcher’s Shop’ and other category winners were Kerrigan’s of Donaghmede who won ‘Best Butcher’s Shop in a Shopping Centre’ and Lawlor’s of Rathmines for ‘Best Butcher’s Shop on a High Street’.

On the opening day of Food & Hospitality Ireland, hundreds of retailers, chefs, restaurateurs, wholesalers, craft butchers, and hoteliers descended on the RDS Industries Hall for the inaugural two-day event.

Key speakers at the Spotlight Stage tomorrow include Paula Donoghue, insight and brand manager with Bord Bia, the Marker Hotel’s Charlie Sheil, Ruairi Doyle from GrabOne and Editor of Checkout magazine, Steve Wynne Jones.

The winning products from the first-ever Irish Quality Food & Drink awards will also be showcased exclusively at the event following their unveiling at a gala event at Dublin’s Mansion House this evening.

Taking to the stage tomorrow at the Restaurants Association of Ireland’s Chef’s Table will be Kevin O’Toole from Chameleon in Temple Bar and Shamzuri Hanifa from The Cottage. Paul Horohoe from Co Longford’s The Black Olive will also feature on the line-up, along with Adrian Martin from Associated Craft Butchers, with all of the chefs delivering live cooking demonstrations using the finest local produce.

In addition, the ACBI will hold its last two awards – the National Sausage and Pudding Championships and the Speciality Foods competition. Following months of regional heats, hundreds of butchers will be at the show to compete for the top prizes.

Food & Hospitality Ireland trade expo continues tomorrow at the Industries Hall in the RDS. The event is free to attend and is open from 10am-5pm.

Pictured: Minister of State at the Department of Transport Michael Ring TD with Nicella O’Gorman from O’Gorman’s Meats Farm Shop, winner of Butcher Shop of the Year