THE butcher who pioneered the humble Scotch pie in Edinburgh nearly 60 years ago has been named as making the best pies in Scotland.

When Sandy Crombie, 77, first joined the family firm in the 1950s, the product was viewed by many of the capital’s residents as too unrefined for their tastes.

Now he is “absolutely elated” that the pie he introduced to his customers has scooped the coveted diamond status in the Scottish Craft Butchers Savoury Pastry Products Awards 2018 – the highest possible recognition from the industry evaluator.

“When I first joined my father’s butchers firm in 1956, the Scotch pie was frowned upon in Edinburgh,” Crombie said. “It was seen as too downmarket for the customers of the day in the capital.

“In the west, however, the Scotch pie was proving a real favourite, so a colleague and I visited fellow butchers Chapmans of Wishaw and asked for their recipe.”

Crombie’s adapted the Scotch pie to their own recipe and, after encouraging local people to taste the results, the meaty favourite of west Scotland began to take off among Edinburgh customers.

“We are one of very few butchers in Scotland who still make our Scotch pies with only lamb, in a nod to the old mutton pie which was a forerunner of the Scotch pie,” Crombie said.


THE exact recipe for the national winner is a closely guarded secret, but being judged to make the best Scotch pie in Scotland will turn the national spotlight on the Edinburgh business, which sells around 1000 Scotch pies each week.

The annual Scottish Craft Butcher Diamond evaluations have been known to double, treble and even quadruple production due to public demand.

Crombie’s of Edinburgh was one of around 60 butchers from all over Scotland which collectively submitted nearly 300 different handcrafted pies, sausage rolls and bridies which were judged across six categories.

Douglas Scott, chief executive of Scottish Craft Butchers, said there had been a record number of entrants – and that enthusiasts would travel miles to taste the winners.

“Diamond Awards are not given out lightly – they are the ultimate achievement for a butcher,” Scott said. “Every one of the butchers recognised can be rightly proud of their products.”


FITTINGLY for a product that is a football match staple, the winner of the award for making the best speciality pie is a former footballer.

Douglas Graham has been involved in the butchery business for more than 40 years, taking over ownership of his Kilmacolm shop 22 years ago.

A player with Morton who had a trial with Arsenal in the 1980s, Graham says he is delighted to have finally secured a league winner.

His business, Blackwood of Kilmacolm, lifted a diamond award for the best speciality pie in Scotland with their mince and red onion pie. “I develop the recipes for our pastry products so I’m really happy to see one of them judged the best of its kind in Scotland – what a great accolade,” Graham said.


THE awards decided the country’s best bridies and sausage rolls are made in Falkirk.

Butcher Thomas Johnston secured a rare double honour after meaty favourites each scooped a coveted Diamond Award.

Co-owner Richard Johnston, who runs the family business with brother Graeme, said the double diamond was the perfect start to the new year.

The business, which has seven shops, was started by their great-grandfather in 1861, just 50 yards away from their Cow Wynd outlet.

“He started selling meat from his farm from the back of a cart parked near the town steeple and then opened his shop there,” Johnston said. “Generations of Johnstons have been running it ever since.”

The popular Falkirk butcher is no stranger to glittering accolades, having secured diamond status for its sausage rolls last year and a similar ranking for its bridies several years ago.


PERTH butcher DG Lindsay was recognised as producing Scotland’s best handheld steak pies.

Owner Beaton Lindsay said he was “over the moon” to be rated so highly by the industry and his peers.

Being judged to have the best handheld steak pies in Scotland will turn the public focus on the North Methven Street business which has been in the Lindsay family for more than 120 years.

Beaton’s great-grandfather started the butchers in Perth in the late 1800s. It was a departure far the previous family business of chemists in India.

“We’re still mixing ingredients to make people feel good,” joked Lindsay. “We just use the finest quality meats instead of medicines.”

Finally, Bathgate-based butchers chain Hugh Black & Sons unearthed a Diamond Award for their chicken and smoked ham hough pies.

The company has a chain of 12 shops throughout the central belt and Fife, from Cambuslang to Cowdenbeath, in addition to its production factory at Bathgate.