This Aberdeen butcher in Tillydrone has its eyes on the pies as “pie day” takes off on social media.
For those of you who love pies, Liam Scott’s, Lurch Monster’s Tilly Butcher is the place to go for unique and quirky flavours.
Stocking 1,100 pies every Thursday as a result of his popular lockdown “pie day”, Liam and his team have built up the demand for the much-loved north-east favourite, selling out of them in around one to two hours.
Throughout lockdown The Tilly Butcher became the go-to place in the city centre to get a whole range of pies.
From savoury pizza flavoured ones to sweet Biscoff ones, not to mention the more traditional versions, it’s a four-day operation to make the pies and have them ready for 3pm every Thursday.
The 32-year-old who employs three members of staff started off in the butchery world when he was 16 and opened his business nearly a decade ago in September 2011.
An event in itself, “pie day” has become a regular occasion with some, with others travelling up from Glasgow and Edinburgh and down from Thurso to sample Liam’s monstrous pies.
He said: “Pie day starts on a Monday and we spend two days cooking all the fillings. Wednesday I’m filling the pies and baking them. We make 550 pies on both Wednesday and Thursday. The 1,100 pies are gone within an hour or two. It is pandemonium.
“Nobody had anything to do when the pandemic first happened other than stand in the queue for pies at The Tilly Butcher. It really was crazy.
“We tried pies from all over the north-east and we realised there was a gap in the market. For the first eight years we were winning awards for our sausages and we did everything we could with them. Then we moved onto pies to make them more special.
“Everyone is trying to do different pies and glazing them like we do. We have had a knock-on effect with our pies I would say as a result.”
Queues for pies
With queues beginning to form an hour before the pies go on sale, Liam says at times the queues have been so long they haven’t died down until 6pm.
“The customers will start queueing around 2pm. It is like a big event now – everyone posts about it on social media. The queue is really big come 3pm and you’re constant until 5.30-6pm. There’s no limit on the pies and we don’t take orders for them.
“We get on average four people from Glasgow all the time, people from Edinburgh, Thurso, you name it. They buy a minimum of 20 pies and take them home. Some have to do two trips to the car to load up their pies.
“We started doing pies two years ago and when Covid-19 hit we stopped doing them initially as they are four days worth of prep to make. We then launched them on the Thursday at 3pm and it just took off. A couple of the school teachers popped in to ask if we were giving away free food because there was that many people queuing. ”
Watch the pies being made
Making all the pies himself to ensure the quality is consistent the others in the team will work on butchering and will stock the fridges continuously as more customers roll through the doors.
Liam added: “I do all of the pies. On Friday that’s when I go back to being a butcher. I do them so the quality is the same all the time. The pies are always filled to the gunnels. There’s four of us all together.
“The most popular is the macaroni. It’s hilarious the vegetarian pie is the most popular in a butcher. The pulled pork macaroni one and the macaroni and smoked brisket also go down well.
“We did Irn-Bru sausage rolls, have Biscoff pies and some other unusual favours, too. There’s steak, mince, and all the other traditional ones. We are starting to look into offering more plant-based produce because it is so popular just now. There’s a big market for it.
“Social media has been a huge driver for us. We post on specific days to remind people that we are open. We have 30,000 followers across Instagram and Facebook.”
Switching the pie regime up
Open Monday to Saturday Liam will soon change the pie-making regime to fit in with his customers’ daily lives now the majority of them are back to work.
“Now that restrictions are lessening people are working more they can’t join the queue at 3pm on Thursdays. I’m going to try and have a good selection of pies on each day. It will take some strain off of me too, I think I’ve aged 40 years in the past year making all of these pies!
“It is a gourmet-style pie and we’ve had so many chippers get in touch asking if we can supply them. I prioritise customers.
“There’s a real community spirit in the queue no matter what day there is one. A lot of the customers will look after the elderly members in the queue and let them go to the front which is really good.”