SAT 25TH NOV 2017

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Bringing the family business community together

Walkers Shortbread

Business Address: Walkers Shortbread Ltd., Aberlour House, Aberlour on Spey, Scotland, AB38 9LD

Country: Scotland,

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About Walkers Shortbread

Bakers of the finest shortbreads, biscuits, cakes and oatcakes produced by following the original recipes of founder Joseph Walker.

Bakers of the finest shortbreads, biscuits, cakes and oatcakes produced by following the original recipe of Founder Joseph Walker. In its distinctive tartan packaging, Walkers range of products is packed with Scottish character.

The Walkers story begins over a hundred years ago in 1898, when the twenty one year old Joseph Walker opened the doors of his own bakery with a loan of £50 and the dream of making the finest shortbread in the world.

In the first year of business, Joseph used every spare moment to perfect his shortbread recipe, and it was time well spent. Soon, shooting parties from the local estates were making detours to Joseph's bakery.

As his fame spread, and demand increased for his quality shortbread, Joseph took the first steps to expanding the business by moving to a larger shop in the Speyside village of Aberlour and investing in a horse and cart to deliver his baking further afield.

During the 30’s, the business – like Joseph’s family – was expanding.  Two of his sons, James and Joseph joined the business, bringing fresh, new ideas with them.  

By 1936, they had introduced three valuable additions to the business: a range of cakes, a selection of confectionery - and the company's first delivery van.

Now Walkers produce could be sold even further afield, and the prospects for expansion were looking promising. But then came the war.

Wartime rationing and their commitment to the Home Guard meant that Joseph's sons couldn't develop the business or their range of products as they would have liked.

But they kept the business going and kept their customers happy throughout the war years by supplying good, tasty bread and oatcakes.

While some manufacturers tried to cut corners by using margarine instead of butter, Joseph believed that people still appreciated the care that went into making a superior product like Walkers shortbread.  And he was right.  That is why, even after Joseph Walker died in 1954, his sons continued to use the traditional recipe.  

Demand grew, and so did the business. By 1961, all three of James' children - Joseph, James and Marjorie - had joined the business, making the third generation of Walkers working for the family firm.

The workforce was now almost one hundred, and Walkers had a fleet of 14 vans as well as shops in Grantown and Elgin.

Local grocers began stocking Walkers products, and the family had to invest in bakery machinery to help them meet demand.

Naturally, they baked to the same high standards - simply on a larger scale. Soon their shortbread was on the shelves of Britain's finest stores.

By 1975, Walkers had outgrown their extended bakery, and moved to a custom built factory that gave them the extra space and facilities they needed to develop new products like Chocolate Chip Shortbread and speciality biscuits.

Many of the people who worked with Walkers during this time, are still with them now. Local folk who often come from the same family - mothers working alongside daughters, fathers and sons.

Then, as now, Walkers stayed in touch with their customers by testing every new product in Aberlour's village shop. So, customers around the world are enjoying a range of products that were first given the seal of approval by the villagers of Aberlour.

Consistent quality and traditionally delicious recipes have made Walkers the choice of the most discerning customers and retailers.

Walkers reputation grows day by day as loyal customers worldwide delight in traditional shortbreads and innovative new products like almond, ginger and luxurious chocolate covered shortbread.  

All Walkers' products are packaged in its unmistakable red tartan and proudly bearing the image of Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora MacDonald, the image which captures one of the most romantic moments from Scotland’s history, and reflects all the tradition and care that goes into baking every piece of Walkers shortbread.

The quality and natural goodness of Walkers has attracted many international awards, including five gold Mondiale medals and the Food from Britain Innovation Award.

It was an equally prestigious honour when Walkers were asked to produce Duchy Originals Biscuits for the company established by HRH the Prince of Wales. Duchy Originals Biscuits are made from organic oatmeal sourced from the Prince’s estates and others within the Duchy of Cornwall.

Today, more than twelve varieties of Duchy Originals are exported around the world from Walkers Speyside bakery.

While Joseph’s children and grandchildren have moved with the times, they have always remained true to his original ideal, and his original recipe.

So, when the family opened a new factory at Elgin to produce their popular new range of shortbread cookies and biscuits, they naturally still insisted on using only the finest ingredients: plump fruits, aromatic spices, chunks of real chocolate and flavoursome nuts. And there's not an artificial flavouring, colouring or preservative in sight. 

Just as Joseph Walker guaranteed all those years ago.

Today, Joseph would be proud to know that his great grandchildren are carrying on the family tradition and are now the fourth generation of Walkers to make 'The world's classic pure butter shortbread'.