Saturday 28 June 2014

150 Years of Pie Making: Celebrating with Robinsons Bakery

A celebratory visit to pie makers Robinsons Bakery in their 150th year

Robinsons Bakery Pie Review
Robinsons Bakery in Failsworth, Manchester
One of the pie-lights of being a Pierateer is sailing the Pierate Ship up and down the country to meet pie producers who really do care about their pies. A fine example of this is Robinson’s Bakery in Failsworth, north Manchester. They run the oldest craft bakery in Manchester, which has this year celebrated a milestone 150 years producing pies and baked goods. It’s an excePIEtional achievement for anyone, producing pies through highs and lows, recessions and booms - even 2 world wars!

So what’s the key to the sustained success of Robinson’s Bakery?

Well it’s clear from the moment you arrive that you get a friendly, local feel to the whole place. Providing baked goods to the local community and an increasing number of businesses and customers across the city via their city centre market stall, people are clearly wanting a good quality of product and service, from a bakery that buys and sells local. In the past they have sold baked products off a horse and cart (see photo below) and now they sell from two shops and a weekend market stall – with all the products baked in the Failsworth shop.

Robinsons Bakery Pie Review - Ovens
Robinsons Bakery Pie Review - Pie Press

A tour of the bakery includes a giant pie press, casing hundreds of pies a day, and ovens which can cook hundreds of pies at once if necessary!

I asked Grace, who looks after the Robinsons Bakery twitter and facebook account among other duties, what they have been doing to celebrate their 150th anniversary. Were there any more comPIEtitions in the PIEpeline? Again her answer highlighted the strong links they have with the local community in which they sell their baked goods, with many food promotions and giveaways – including their celebratory 150th anniversary bags – aimed at their regular customers. But there were promotions continuing to happen at various points online across their 150th year.

Regarding the pies, it’s hard to argue with a pie maker who’s been in the trade for well over 50 years, let alone 150 years. That’s plenty of time to PIEfect their reciPIES! So how often do they change their pies? Not often, it turns out! The manager David explained the current recipes they use are from his mother. They do have some more seasonal pies on sale, but in general most of their pies are sold all year round.

Robinsons Bakery Pie Review
Robinsons Bakery Historic Photo
Their best-selling pies are the potato and meat pies, with their various meat and gravy pie sales totalling about 2,000 a week and around 500 pork pies sold a week on top of that. We bought and rated three Robinsons meat pies - the Steak and Guinness, Steak and Kidney and Apple Topped Pork Pie. Two of them received Pierate Recommended status and you can read about that in their full pie review.

Interestingly their mince pies sales continue all year round, with a minimum 60 sold a week all year round, peaking at around 2,000 mince pies sold a week around Christmas! Of course we’ve already been to Robinson’s Bakery before, picking up these delightful mince pies which were one of the highest scoring pies in our '12 Pies of Christmas' music video!

Robinson’s Bakery can be found at 69/71 Ashton Rd East, Failsworth, Manchester, M35 9PW, with a second store at 164 Nuthurst Rd, New Moston, Manchester, M40 3WG plus a weekend stall at Piccadilly Market in the city centre. They sell a range of pies, bread and other baked goods.

Robinsons Bakery Market Stall
Robinsons Bakery Market Stall


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