A bakers based in Beith has once again received recognition on the world stage, at this year’s World Championship Scotch Pie Awards.

Irvine’s Bakers has three stores, in Beith, Kilbirnie and Dalry, with a further coffee shop in Beith, where production is based.

The bakers, which won the top gong for its scotch pie in 2011, becoming the first Ayrshire bakery to do so, was the first runner-up in this year’s contest.

Irvine’s also received a bronze award in the hot savoury product category, for its chicken and black pudding pie, while their steak pie achieved a gold award.

The most prestigious victory was in the football pie category, where it was the overall winner, receiving a diamond award for the steak pie, available at Beith Juniors matches.

This was the baker’s first victory in this area.

Maurice Irvine, owner and managing director of the business, spoke about the honour in winning these awards.

He said: “It was good to get four really good awards, a wee bit frustrating just to miss out on the overall winner but that’s fair enough.

“We’re delighted to win anything at all and it’s good to be in with the big guns, competing with the top bakers.

“Quality is definitely our first priority.

"We’ve got a lot of well qualified and talented staff, we try hard to get it right.

“Competitions are great, its good to win things and be recognised as good at something, it makes you better at your job and that should never be forgotten.

"That’s the best thing, it makes you better at your job, you raise your game because you have to be good to compete against the best.”

Maurice is a fourth generation baker, with Irvine’s Bakery being run by the family for over 100 years.

In his time, they have received numerous other awards, including the Scottish Crafter Baker of the year, in 2018 and 2019, where they are still reigning champions, following Covid postponements of the competition.

Despite the success in competitions, Maurice said they never forget who the real judges of quality are.

He added: “Winning competitions is great, however we never forget our customers judge us every day, that’s the judges we want to impress.

"That’s the whole point of the exercise as far as we’re concerned.

“It’s a lot of work, our bakers start at three o’clock in the morning, because everything’s made fresh, we’ve got to be in, started and get everything made to make sure our stuff gets into the shop for 8am.

“From 3am to 4pm it’s busy, busy, busy and it’s freshness, it’s locally made, locally produced by local people.

"It’s a big thing for us.”

The owner also commented on the football pie award, especially as a Beith local himself.

He said:“It’s great to be associated with the local club.

“It’s great for the supporters, from a football point of view, you’re looking to boast about whatever you can about your team.”

He finally added how nice it is to see bakers getting more and more coverage, especially with shows such as The Great British Bake off highlighting the challenges it can pose.

Maurice commented: “There’s a bit more respect for people like us that do this job.

“You get on with it, you don’t think much of it, then all of a sudden you get all these programs on, and you think, you know what, I’m proud of what I do.

“I’m not saying we felt unloved before, but I think its given people in the trade a bit more get up and go.

“It makes you want to be better at your job, and as a result your business benefits from that.”