50 Year's Experience
John Stone has been in the business a long time – over fifty years. He has seen trends come and go. He has weathered recessions and survived calamities. And he has come out stronger. Fifty years has taught him that what customers want is consistency. They want to know that the level of quality they receive will be the same from week to week. They need to know it because their diners need to know it. It's a tricky proposition when you're dealing with food. It's a hands-on job. That's why we'll always be artisan. It takes the eye of a Master Butcher to make sure quality stays consistent.
There have been butchers in John Stone’s family for six generations going back to John’s great great grandfather, Clement Stone – a butcher and farmer in Devon. John’s father, Tim, was a butcher and John cut his teeth working for him in the family shop in Highgate, London.
In 1954, John’s father bought an established butcher shop, E. Russell Ltd., behind Smithfield Market. The existing clientele included British Rail and this gave young John Stone an introduction to catering butchery which he would focus on for the rest of his career.
The business was at first exclusively UK-based but in the 1970’s an opportunity arose to export to France. Lacking the right export licence, E. Russell Ltd. joined forces with a Scottish processor, Willy Donald and a new company, Donald Russell, was created. This business developed a global reach by the 1990’s, exporting as far as Singapore and Hong Kong.
In 1983 John Stone helped establish the National Association of Catering Butchers, with a view to having a voice and also to get members to agree to supply to a certain standard specification. He went on to co-write the Meat Buyers Guide for Catering Butchery – a ground-breaking guide to meat cuts which helped standardise the industry and proved enormously popular.
When we characterise a man as an expert in his field, we often say, ‘he wrote the book on it’. In John Stone’s case, it’s literally true.
Donald Russell also developed customers in the hotels of the Channel Islands and John eventually made his home in Guernsey. It was Jersey in 1995 that John first met a young Irish butcher, Allan Morris, and started a fruitful partnership. Allan was twenty when he started in Russell Meats but from the beginning, he exhibited an entrepreneurial spirit and an ability to sell that kept him on John Stone’s radar for years to come.
When the BSE crisis shut down UK exports in 1996, Donald Russell was forced to innovate quickly. The company developed a mail-order business – an unheard of service in meat at the time. The new offering was a big success and helped develop Donald Russell’s name as an innovator.
In the 2000’s John Stone saw an opportunity to re-build the international catering export business which had imploded after BSE. He looked to Ireland and to a partnership with Kepak Group to act as supplier. Several years of groundwork followed as the Kepak process was adapted to fit the demanding high standards and customer focus of Donald Russell. By the early 2010’s the product was right. Allan Morris, who had worked so closely with John Stone in Jersey in the 90’s, became Managing Director and the future looked bright.
In 2012, an unsolicited approach for the UK business of Donald Russell was made. After many years of trading in the UK, and with Willy seeking to retire, the decision was made to sell that side of the business. As a result, the Irish side of the company needed a new name. Many options were considered. But perhaps inevitably, in 2013, after nearly fifty years in the business, John Stone became Chairman of the newly formed John Stone Beef. Over the next six years, Allan Morris travelled the world developing new customers in top restaurants and hotels all over the Middle East, Asia and Europe. The name John Stone has now become synonymous with consistent high quality and customer focus.
In 2020, at the start of the Corona virus outbreak, John Stone Beef launched johnstonebeefshop.com to bring that same quality direct to the consumer again.
John Stone MBE is Chairman of John Stone Beef. He has more than fifty years of experience as a master butcher. Thirty years ago, he co-authored the Meat Buyers Guide for Catering Butchery – a seminal industry publication which standardised meat cutting practices and jargon for a generation.
Tim Stone was instrumental in setting up the John Stone process when the business was established in Ireland nearly twenty years ago. As a seventh generation butcher and son of founder, John Stone, he knows quality meat. Now, he is proud to take the helm as managing director and continue the tradition of excellence that John Stone stands for.
Jonathan Cahill is a third generation master butcher. His career spans over four decades from retail to foodservice for global companies. His passion and respect for the animal and for good husbandry is at the forefront of everything he does.
Scott has over 9 years’ experience in the meat industry, and joined the John Stone team in January 2021. Scott has helped developed the e-commerce / direct to consumer side of the business as well as developing new product ideas and concepts.
Grzegorz has over 18 years’ experience as a trained butcher and has been part of the John Stone team for over 3 years. Grzegorz cuts and prepares the orders to your requirements.
Marcella joined John Stone early this year as our Office Administrator and has years of experience in accountancy. Marcella manages all aspects of our delivery logistics, from processing orders to arranging transport and order confirmation documents.
Matty has been working with John Stone for over 8 years and is in charge to ensuring all products including packaging match the high standards we set as a company.
Declan joined John Stone last summer and is a trained butcher with over 35 years’ experience. You may recognise Declan who also drives our John Stone branded van, delivering to customers and restaurants all over Ireland.