Tuesday 21 November 2017
Hansard of the Legislative Council

Nigel's Gourmet on Tamar

Mr FINCH (Rosevears) - Mr President, we were told many years ago that television would end the cinema industry - it did not; that ebooks would totally replace printed books - they did not.  A decade or so ago the demise of the family butcher was predicted; we were told that everyone would buy their meat from supermarkets.  Many do but good family butchers have survived and some have gone from strength to strength.
A constituent of mine, Nigel Birrell and his wife Catherine , applied for a bank loan to buy a butcher's shop in Main Road, Exeter, 12 years ago and they were refused, presumably because banks agreed with the predictions of the demise of butcher shops.  Well, they got their shop in 2005, with the cooperation of the vendor who took half payment in good faith and they started their business well and truly in debt.  Nigel had worked in the premises for 10 years so he knew the basic operation.  He was actually from six generations of coalminers in the Fingal Valley at Cornwall, but he wanted to be a butcher at four years of age.  Amazing.  Here he was, the dream coming true, and the banks were wrong. 
Nigel's Gourmet on Tamar opened another shop in Launceston's Kings Meadows in September.  They also supply two Launceston IGA supermarkets and he has recently acquired Nigel's Farmyard stores.  The Kings Meadows shop is more than a butcher's shop.  As well as selling a range of local meats and meat products, it also stocks seasonal vegetables and it is open seven days a week, and that sort of operation is hard work.

Ms Rattray - I think Nigel is at Tamar as well.

Mr FINCH - Yes, that is him - Nigel's Farmyard.  He took over the Farmyard Chicken.  Nigel and Catherine physically run the five stores themselves so they can keep an eye on the quality standards of the operation.
They bought the Farmyard Chicken business early last year, rebranding it 'Nigel's Farmyard'.  They changed the offerings to a much more gourmet selection, including Nigel's famous sausages, Tasmanian beef, lamb, pork and free-range chickens.

Ms Rattray - That ad on television is very catchy; I sing along to it all the time.

Mr FINCH - That is right.  Then, of course, there is a problem with the investment in marketing.  It is very expensive to do that sort of thing but they have bitten the bullet and they are having a go.
I might point out they have two children, Isabella aged four, and Riley aged two.  They would be disappointed if I left them out of this presentation today, but the kids love all the shops and they often test the new products they have for 'kid appeal', so they are experimenting all the time.

Nigel's Gourmet shifts their award-winning sausages to Wynyard, Somerset, Devonport, Latrobe and Hobart, and they also sell to the Tasmanian Grocer in Melbourne.  Overseas is a little way off, but it is on the radar.
I might say that Nigel started winning awards for his sausages six years ago and he has since won 40 awards, not just for sausages but also for chicken, lamb, pork and beef dishes often combined with spinach, beetroot, pumpkin and other vegetables, and cheeses too, like fetta and parmesan.  Nigel's Gourmet makes approximately 25 different varieties of sausages with flavours changing constantly and guided by the fresh seasonal produce and inspiration.

The futurist might have been right about the motor car replacing the horse and cart, but Nigel Birrell and others have proven them wrong with the family butcher and consumers on the West Tamar and in Launceston are very grateful. 

I might just conclude with a story about the actress, Rebecca Gibney, who lived on the West Tamar and was a regular at Nigel's Gourmet on Tamar.  One day Nigel said, 'Are you going to win the Gold Logie?' and Rebecca said, 'Are you going to vote for me?'  He said, 'Are you going to thank me?'  Well, much to his surprise, when she was running through her credits on television after she won the Gold Logie, she said, 'And thanks to my butcher, Nigel's Gourmet on Tamar'. 

He is famous.