Federal councillor and past president of the Society, David Spencer, yesterday attended a special lunch at Brisbane’s Norman Hotel to celebrate the shorthorn breed’s flagship brand, Thousand Guineas Beef, produced by JBS, having again delivered the most popular steak in Brisbane. The lunch was attended by senior JBS executives Denis Conroy and Brad de Luca, David Spencer, Graeme Winnell of Shorthorn Beef, and Godfrey Morgan of The Grove Shorthorns.
The 120 day grainfed marble score 2 plus sirloin was lined up against steaks from three other breeds – Charbray, Hereford and Droughtmaster – at the Norman in inner-city Woolloongabba. The winner was the steak that achieved the greatest sales during October. The winner’s steak remains on the menu throughout November.
Diners were also able to score their steaks. By this measure also, Thousand Guineas Beef came out the winner.
Another well known Queensland hotel, The Regatta, also conducted a people’s choice award where the shorthorn product also came out on top.
The consistency of the product is maintained by strict adherence to the genetic integrity of the cattle put into the program. ‘The cattle must be at least 75 per cent shorthorn, and can only include genetics from other British breeds’, said Graeme Winnell of Shorthorn Beef.
JBS’s Denis Conroy said that the premium product was primarily being sold into Australian restaurants and into Japan.
‘We’re very big supporters of this competition at the Norman’ Mr Conroy said. ‘It provides us with consumer feedback that helps us better understand what is being experienced on the dinner plate’.
JBS processes 240-300 head of shorthorn cattle per week specifically for the Thousand Guineas brand.
JBS marketing executive Brad de Luca said that the niche brand was a salute to the long history of the shorthorn breed, and the price paid for the shorthorn bull Comet in 1810. Comet is the first instance of a bull sold for a thousand guineas, an incredible amount when adjusted for inflation over a period of more than 200 years.
‘It is a relatively new brand but it captures the history and outstanding eating qualities of the breed’ Mr de Luca said.
He also commented favourably upon the engagement of the shorthorn societies in making the brand a success.
David Spencer noted that whilst supplies of shorthorn cattle are reportedly satisfactory at the moment, there is no room for complacency. Every effort must be made, he said, to support the program by bringing forward suitable cattle.
He noted also that the JBS marketing strategy is to introduce Thousand Guineas beef at selected restaurants, a strategy which is proving very successful.
A taste win such as this merits all the publicity it can get. After all, breeders of shorthorn cattle cannot but be encouraged in their breeding programs if they know that their product is what consumers want.
[This article draws upon an article which appeared in Queensland Country Life].