Tuesday 23 October 2018

Billy's Bakehouse Got Bigger

If you are a regular reader of Pierate, you may remember our review of the pies produced by Billy's Bakehouse. They particularly stick in the mind because these are classic Australian pies but they are produced in the Netherlands. They are also unusual because, despite being frozen and at a low market price point, these pies are genuinely tasty. The mastermind behind these pies is Darren Handley, a Aussie ex-pat who missed the pies he used to be able to get back home so decided to make them himself.

During my honeymoon in the Netherlands this Summer I happened to visit Leiden, the home city of Billy's Bakehouse. Pierateer ALE and myself met up with Darren at one of the many canal side bars and got an update with how he is getting on.

Pierateer SJL and Darren Handley
We discussed how Darren has built a new production bakery which they have moved into this year. This has increased their pie making capacity. They recently took 12,000 pies to the Lowlands Festival. Now that is a lot of pies! Darren enjoys doing the festivals and the fact the pies are frozen is perfect because they can meet whatever demand there is without wastage. With the extra capacity they are now looking to supply more supermarkets, restaurants and sporting events. With the pie being frozen it is very flexible for meeting demand. Darren says the UK market is still one that he would like to break into which, once established, would ideally see Billy's Bakehouse set up in some form in the UK. This is something we would love to see happen, despite there being a lot of pies on the market, Billy's Bakehouse could certainly fill a gap. As we said in our review, because these pies cook quickly from frozen, they are perfect for organisations which will see strong peaks in demand, such as during half time at a football match. We are often disappointed by the pies on offer at football matches. This would be much improved if Billy's Bakehouse pies were adopted by some football clubs in the UK.

We also discussed the article about Billy's Bakehouse which featured in the Discover Benelux in-flight magazine (see page 56). The article in entitled 'Taking on the big boys of pie production'.  Darren kindly include a mention of Pierate saying that we 'wrote the review Billy's Bakehouse had been waiting for, leading the way to export to the UK'! We certainly do hope that our favourable review helps Darren in this mission.

Fortunately, all the hard work hasn't put Darren off, he still enjoys his pies, with the Meat Pie in particular what he will eat away at festivals. There are a couple of new flavours in development including a Mexican-style flavour. We will be keeping an eye on progress and hope to try some more Billy's Bakehouse pies in the future.


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