Northern Ireland family butcher named best in UK
A Co Down family butcher in business for almost a century has been named the UK's best.
Cunningham's Butchers in Kilkeel, which employs more than 50 people, has been named the UK's Butcher Shop of the Year at the 2017 Farm Shop & Deli Awards.
And it was also named Best Retailer for Northern Ireland at the awards.
The judges applauded the company's "commitment to industry-leading standards", reflected in its growth. The company has boosted sales fourfold over the last six years.
James Cunningham Jnr, who is the fourth generation of his family to run the business, said: "We are truly overwhelmed to receive these prestigious awards. I can't thank our wonderful customers enough for their support.
"It's particularly special as we now hold both a UK and Ireland 'best butcher' title and we are so proud to bring these accolades to our home town of Kilkeel.
"Being named the UK's Butcher Shop of the Year is testament to the passion, skill and dedication of our brilliant staff without whom our business would not be where it is today. Our fantastic workforce, coupled with our ability to blend tradition with unique innovation, has resulted in a great couple of years for our business.
"Since 2010, we have grown our workforce from three members of staff to over 50, and we plan to continue building on this success by offering customers high quality products that respond to customer needs but remain steeped in local provenance. We're delighted to be playing our part in helping shine a light on Northern Ireland's strong food credentials."
Last year, the company also opened a new bistro, fresh food hall and renovated its butchery.
Nigel Barden, chairman of the Farm Shop & Deli Awards judging panel, said: "It's the attention to detail that really makes the winners stand out. Cunningham Butchers is so much more than just a butchers."