AS businesses across the country fight for a share of a shrinking economic pie, one Sheffield family firm can look back on the past few weeks with satisfaction.
Pork pies have been flying out of Waterall Brothers – with the city’s real ale pubs opening up a new market.
In the week up to Christmas, the premises in Percy Street, Neepsend, produced just under 9,000 1lb pies, 850 at 2lb “and I don’t know how many small pies, probably about 2,500”, said managing director Steven Waterall.
“It’s probably the most we have sold for a good many years.”
Many of the pies end up on the company’s stalls – Wateralls and Barrows – in the Castle Market.
But they are increasingly finding favour in pubs where drinkers like a traditionally-produced and locally-sourced pork pie with their real ale.
Pies for the Fat Cat pub are even made with Kelham Island Brewery’s Sheffield Best Bitter, and others are going down a treat at places such as the Sheaf View at Heeley Bottom, the Blake Hotel in Upperthorpe and the Devonshire Cat in Wellington Street.
The business was started 48 years ago by Steven’s father, Lee, and his uncle Eric.
“The recipe is exactly the same as Uncle Eric used many years ago,” said Steven, declining to give details.
More than 20 people work at the factory and shops, with Steven helped by his brother, Neil, and Eric’s son-in-law, Trevor. His wife, Debra, works in the office.
Most of the meat comes from a farm in Doncaster and pride is taken in other suppliers coming from within a 40 mile radius.
With Christmas and New Year over, it’s back to the meat and potatoes of normal business.
At least Steven can look back on sales figures that are far from pie in the sky.