Is a reduced hospitality sector affecting the price?
Last week Shooting Times reported that prospects for the grouse season were mixed, with Perthshire estates expecting a good year but a poor season predicted for the North York Moors. A wet winter, followed by a dry spring with a return of rain in the summer, has created conditions for what is expected to be a reasonable season, though certainly not a vintage one.
So how much are game dealers offering for grouse this year compared with 2019? Is a lack of supply driving up prices or is a lack of demand from hotels and restaurants keeping the grouse price down?
Shooting UK talked to those in the know to finding out what’s happening.
Liam Stokes, CEO of the British Game Alliance was upbeat. “We are hearing of prices ranging from £5-£9 for young birds, less for older birds, being paid to shoots, which is on a par with last season. That is very positive because, given the collapse in demand due to the issues in the hospitality sector, and the drop in supply due to uneven grouse numbers across the country, we didn’t know how supply and demand would match up. The optimism is derived from a very good first week, in which demand from hospitality was high over the 12th and beyond.”
Annette Woolcock of BASC advised: “The grouse price is about the same as last year. The demand is really good, which is great news as at one stage we thought that all grouse would have to be stored until next year, but with the opening of hospitality this has changed.
“I think the trade is just grateful that the demand is there, the price has held and the birds are all selling. Hopefully it will be a sell-out year.”
Grouse is a popular dish on the menus of smart London restaurants. It is currently on offer at Belgravia’s La Poule au Pot for £38.50, served with vegetables and a game sauce. Meanwhile in MPs’ favourite, the Cinnamon Club in Westminster, “delicately spiced clove-smoked grouse breast, ‘Tawa tak-a-tak’ game and mushroom keema, served with creamy black lentils” will set you back £32.