Meet one of Adelaide’s award-winning butchers
David Armstrong, Goodwood Quality Meats, Adelaide
David is a Master Butcher, smallgoods maker, owner of the Goodwood Quality Meats, and winner of the 2018 South Australian Independent Retail Butcher Shop of the Year.
Here, Red Meat Round-Up talks to David about his cutting-edge approach to business.
Scroll through the Instagram feed of Adelaide’s Goodwood Quality Meats, and you’re met with a visual red meat feast – whiskey dry aged steak, Wagyu Bresaola, jalapeño burgers and much more.
The carefully curated Instagram gallery is part of a savvy social media strategy that has seen the business attract more than 1,800 followers on Instagram and translated to a growing base of loyal customers through the door.
“Social media has become a big part of our business because the Internet broadcasts to people who have never stepped into your shop – it’s the closest thing to word-of-mouth we have in a digital age,” David said.
Once they’re in the shop, David said providing excellent customer service and quality meat, but also something unique, is vital.
“Customers are chasing things they can’t get anywhere else and it highlights to me that people are prepared to pay for quality,” David said.
“With the price of meat increasing we’ve had to look at alternative ways of doing things,” David said.
“We don’t buy any carton stock of beef – we break up all our own beasts, vacuum seal it and let it age for two weeks. We do this to get to the eating quality we’re looking for and guarantee what a customer buys from us is going to be top-notch and, at the same time, we’re reducing meat waste.
“We also have a glass dry ageing cabinet for our range of dry aged steak.
“Since we started doing the dry aged steak, by having the cabinet where people can see it and educating customers, it’s been a great success for us.
“It was a process to build it up, but the more customers could see it, the more they asked for it,” David said.
Goodwood Quality Meats now has a Steak Club for their dry aged steak. Anyone interested can sign up to the email club and become a member.
“Rather than having it cut up and out on display all the time and lose its bloom, we sell it by an order system which works well. There are 320 people on the email list, and once we send an email out, it’s usually all sold within eight hours.”
Among the aged steak offerings is a whiskey dry aged steak. The steak is soaked in whiskey in muslin cloth for four weeks, then taken out of the cloth and allowed to dry age for another three to four weeks.
“It’s been a fantastic success. It will sell out in less than 15 minutes once the email goes out,” David said.
“We’ve also introduced a gin aged steak to the range.”
The new ‘normal’
David said beef consumption among his customers has continued to grow, increasing by 30% over the past seven years.
“However, we haven’t seen the same for lamb. The price of lamb has placed it out of the reach of many people, so as a result, we’re having to look at new ways we sell it to customers,” David said.
“When the lamb market was really charging ahead, particularly last year, we had to make customers aware of that so they knew the price increase was the normal price for lamb now.”
Marinated Greek lamb legs and other value-added options are now among the offerings for lamb in the shop.
“The MLA lamb campaigns definitely provide a boost, especially the Summer campaigns. It seems the more controversial they are, the better.”
Tapping into consumer trends, particularly the growing food cult of barbecue competitions, David sponsors a local barbecue team, Secondhand Smoke.
Provenance and animal welfare has also become important to David’s customers.
“All of our beef and lamb is sourced locally in South Australia and knowing where it has come from has become a big thing with customers over the past four and a half years,” David said.
Get out of the shop
To stay ahead of consumer trends and learn from their peers, David’s team – which includes seven butchers and one apprentice – compete in butcher challenges and barbecue competitions, such as the Meatstock Butcher Wars.
Most recently, Goodwood’s Luke Leysen represented Australia as part of the Australian Steelers team that competed at the World Butchers Challenge in Belfast.
“It’s valuable to see what other butchers are doing interstate and overseas. Whenever we travel, we always go and visit other butchers and have made contacts in New Zealand, Ireland and France,” David said.
“For our industry to survive as a whole, we need to do more networking and share ideas.
“By learning from each other, we can continue to raise the bar in this industry.”