O’Hagan’s was the first specialist fresh sausage shop in the world started by Bill O’Hagan, a journalist of 38 years, and his wife, Bronwyn at historic Greenwich, South East London, in 1988.
Bill’s passion for sausages started when working as a Butcher boy on Saturday’s while at school in his native South Africa.
Bill was horrified when he moved to England in 1970 at the quality of English sausages. Although he fell in love with Real Ale, sausages left a lot to be desired.
After World War II sausages were filled full of rusk and scrap meat including head meat to keep costs down. As the country recovered, unfortunately sausages did not. When Bill questioned a butcher on the quality of British sausages, he was told: “Sausages are the bin-end of the British meat industry and what butchers can’t sell in their shop goes into their sausages.”
Bill decided he would make his own at home and after a number of years making at home he was persuaded by work colleagues at The Daily Telegraph to turn his hobby into a business. They became his tasters and finest constructive critics.
The shop opened in Greenwich surrounded by a public and media frenzy. Within a year Bill had appeared in every national newspaper and made numerous television and radio appearances.
As his reputation grew he supplied The Dorchester Hotel, Anthony Worral-Thompson, Albert Roux, Harvey Nichols -- to name a few.
He attracted so much media attention that imitators sprung up within a few years. A number of sausage shops opened around the country, some taking inspiration from Bill while others unfortunately took more direct means of stealing Bill’s expertise.
Not only did sausage shops follow but also supermarkets and butchers began to take sausages seriously. Many expanded ranges from one variety and improved quality slightly. This lead to some calling Bill the British sausage pioneer and even meant his inclusion in the book “The Best of British Men..” (1993). Without ever even entering a competition Bill's contribution to the industry has been recognised twice. He was also presented with Britain’s “Best Sausage Maker” (1996) award by the meat and livestock commision and "Contribution to the British Sausage industry" (2004) by the British appreciation society.
Bill and Bronwyn and young son Liam decided to move to the south coast and a slower pace of life.
Without Bill and Bronwyn in London to look after the shop and the front of the shop having “Red Ken’s” double red lines put outside, the shop closed.
With O’Hagan’s now based on the South Coast and Liam grown up and involved in the business O’Hagan’s is again flourishing. It still supplies many pubs and restaurants all over the country. Its sole retail shop is inside a pub, The Woolpack Inn at Fishbourne, Chichester, West Sussex with other direct retailing to the public taking place at farmers’ and town markets across the southern counties.
O' Hagan's specialise also in providing hog-roasts and sausage BBQs for weddings, corporate events, festivals or colleagues in the hospitality trade, and have an impressive CV of outside events going back more than two decades. Under the guidance of Liam O' Hagan, the company intends to develope its existing customer base and expand into new areas of larger catering events.