The World Butchers’ Challenge is an intensely anticipated annual event that can be best described as the butcher industry’s Summer Olympic Games. The challenge started in 2011 as a rivalry between New Zealand and Australia and has since morphed into an ultra-competitive worldwide competition. In March 2018, and for the first time ever, the U.S. will compete against some of the most notable butchers from around the world in Belfast, Ireland. With twelve teams participating, the lineup is the biggest to-date.
Team USA, or Butchers of America, consists of Danny Johnson and Paul Carras of Taylor’s Market in Sacramento, Bryan Butler of Salt & Time in Austin, Lothar Erbe of Lothar’s Gourmet Sausages in Virginia, John Fink of The Whole Beast in San Francisco and Craig Deihl, a chef and award-wining charcuterie maker in Charleston. “The reason this is the first year the U.S. is competing is because we are the first organization from the U.S. that got it together to compete,” says Tia Harrison Holmes, co-founder of The Butcher’s Guild, who handpicked the players of Team USA.