Strichen butcher proves it’s a cut above the rest

Three generations of Fowlie outside the Strichen shop - Hebbie with his son Gavin and grandson Aaron, as they celebrate being top of the crop for the second year running.
Three generations of Fowlie outside the Strichen shop - Hebbie with his son Gavin and grandson Aaron, as they celebrate being top of the crop for the second year running.

A family butcher business is celebrating after lifting the Scottish Butchers Shop of the Year title - for the second year in a row.

Bert Fowlie of Strichen has proved its a prime cut above the rest yet again in the Meat Trades Journal’s annual awards.

And delighted owner, Hebbie Fowlie - who took over the business founded by his father Bert in 1955 - said it was an ‘outstanding accolade’ for the entire 30-strong workforce.

“We’re just a wee shop in a wee village,” he said.

“The quality of opposition from throughout Scotland was outstanding, yet we managed to retain our title and make it two in a row. I couldn’t be more delighted.”

Fowlies prides itself on being a much-loved traditional family butcher - with strong family and community values - but always with an eye on the future and a need to keep abreast of current and changing customer trends and demands.

“You need to move with the times,” he said.

“To survive you have to be willing to change. The latest trend, for example, is ready-to-cook products that make life easier for the busy family and Fowlies has responded with a range of top-quality kitchen-ready dishes and products.”

The High Street shop, which has captivated industry judges for the past two years, is a lure for discerning customers from far and wide.

Hebbie’s son Gavin, who gave up his career as a joiner to join the family business seven years ago, explained that customers included the north-east fishing fleet and North Sea oil rigs as well as around 30 retail outlets.

“Our customers are thrilled that Fowlies has retained the title,” he said. “We’re very much a part of the community and get involved as much as we can. To win the title of Scottish Butchers Shop of the Year last year was a big achievement for Fowlies, and to go back and win it this year is just amazing.

“It’s a tremendous boost for everyone and makes all the hard work wotrthwhile.”