Strathbogie Shire Council

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Podcast ‘rockstar’: Avenel Meats' Scotty Reid

For nearly three decades, master butcher Scotty Reid has propped an antique bike outside Avenel Meats to signal when the weatherboard shop is open.

“It’s an old butcher’s delivery bike,” Scotty said of the 1930s Malvern Star, which is an iconic sight in the historic Bank St streetscape.

“I bought it from a mate in Trawool about five years after moving to Avenel.”

The shopfront is a picture of yesteryear and the business is renowned for good old-fashioned service and quality, locally sourced meat − the wholesaler is equally acclaimed by customers across Victoria for its handmade gourmet goods.

Especially famed for its speciality sausages (about eight varieties) and smoked goods, the family business works closely with local eateries which have built Avenel’s reputation as a foodie haven.

Scottish-born Scotty and his late parents John and Jill opened Avenel Meats in 1987. It was the first opportunity to work together for John, an old-school butcher transitioning to semi-retirement, and Scotty, who was at the tail end of his butcher apprenticeship.

“We worked together for about 15 years,” Scotty said of the move to Avenel from Broadmeadows.

Scotty, who now runs Avenel Meats with wife Neisha, cherishes an old black and white photo of John then aged in his 20s, which is displayed inside Avenel Meats.

“That one photo tells a thousand words,” Scotty, 54, said.

“It’s really special, I just love it.”

Scotty believes the photo was taken in the 1950s, when John worked as butcher aboard the transatlantic passenger liner RMS Queen Mary.

“I love the look on Dad’s face with a couple of his workmates,” Scotty said.

“They partied pretty hard, but they went through some tough times as well, just like we are all going through tough times today [due to COVID-19].

“One of Dad’s crazy mates used to get on the bow of the ship like Leonardo DiCaprio [with Kate Winslet in the movie Titanic].

“Dad travelled the world: when we he got back to Scotland he’d be dressed in these suits from America and looking pretty suave to all the girls; he was talk of town.”

John and Jill Reid left Scotland for South Africa in the early ’70s with their two sons, Scotty the youngest. John opened a grocery store and Scotty started school before the family migrated to Melbourne when Scotty was six years old.

The family settled in Broadmeadows, and at 15-years of age Scotty started his butcher’s apprenticeship in Coburg.

Somewhere along the way, his dad’s part-time band, Deep Sea Rhythm Boys, scored a guest appearance on The Graham Kennedy Show.

“Dad played the piano accordion. It was a really exciting time,” Scotty said.

Fast forward to 2021: some of Scotty’s six children have at various stages worked at Avenel Meats, alongside apprentice and qualified butchers and other local teenagers seeking their first part-time jobs.

Avenel Meats is as intrinsic to the Avenel community as its famed sausages, smoked goods and other lines of local products ranging from honey, chutneys, sourdough, cider and wines.

“It’s like the saying ‘The butcher the baker, the candlestick maker – but we don’t sell candles!” Scotty said.

Across the road, Bank St Wood Fired Pizza and Garden use Scotty’s pork and fennel sausage in the aptly name gourmet pizza – The Scotty.

Scotty loves the country pace of life and close-knit community in Avenel – and he enjoys sharing the area’s must-visit destinations with newcomers and tourists.

“I feel lucky to live and work here,” he said.

Scotty Reid is among the “local rockstars” in the Rock Your Senses in Strathbogie Shire podcast series who give insight into what makes their town rock as a tourist destination.

Visit www.strathbogiestory.com/story-towns or download the Storytowns app to hear from our Shire’s podcast rockstars.

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