Elkins Distilling Co.’s glass flasks
Elkins Distilling Co.
With the coronavirus pandemic shuttering millions of independent stores across Europe, and further worldwide, many have been left wondering just how their businesses will survive.
Distilleries and vineyards in particular rely on footfall to sell tours and beverages. However not everyone has given up the fighting spirit just yet. Many are coming up with innovative ways to keep business afloat and customers happy.
The Bimber Distillery in London is delivering whisky-tasting kits to consumers and is bringing its tours into people’s living rooms by live-streaming the events so people “can still get a feel for how we produce our single malts and what we’re currently working on”, spokesperson Matt McKay told CNBC.
Bristol’s Psychopomp, a micro-distillery, has applied for two licences to make and sell denatured alcohol, the substance needed to make hand sanitizer.
“We plan to sell it commercially at cost price to places like hospitals and restaurants and pubs that are staying open,” director Danny Walker said.
Flint Vineyard in Norfolk has come up with a “drive through” wine service, meaning folks don’t even need to step foot out of their vehicles. “If you’d be up for driving past the tasting room window to stock up on wine and possibly a ’15 Mile goodie bag’ of local cheese, charcuterie and artisan bread, then let us know,” owner Hannah Witchell told Decanter. “Could be your Friday night in sorted and you wouldn’t need to leave your car.”
In Congleton, Cheshire, Beartown Brewery has put up a drive through menu for beer enthusiasts to browse before they buy, all without leaving their cars, and although cannot run tours, are still delivering beer to customers.
In Yorkshire, meanwhile, Martinez Wine is offering a “corona case,” composed of six bottles of wine with free local delivery for £75 ($92), and Wine Therapy on the Isle of Wight has joined forces with other independent businesses, including a butcher and baker, to deliver parcels to locals who are self-isolating.
Although BrewDog is a larger establishment, it is using their Hop Drop app to enable customers to click and collect beer, cider and spirits, alongside food, from their bars. Employees will deliver straight to the vehicles, and NHS staff and emergency service workers get a 50% discount.
Across the channel, the owner of a German restaurant that specializes in hard cider turned his whole establishment into a makeshift drive through.
Zum Lahmen Esel is serving up schnitzel, fried potatoes alongside his well known Aeppelwoi cider to customers. “The restaurant had to close, nobody was allowed to sit inside anymore, so it was either give up or fight,” owner Thomas Metzmacher told Komo News. “And I decided to fight.”
Gus Gluck, co-founder of Quality Wines in central London has kept his online store open so customers can buy bottles of wine, meats and cheeses. Gluck has also started virtual wine tasting sessions in the evenings on Instagram. Customers can purchase red or white tasting sets and then tune in to Instagram at 6pm that evening.
“We had a lot of customers come in, they were really worried about us as people and how we’re going to carry on,” Gluck told Marketplace. “They were also really just upset that they couldn’t go to a bar and have someone just open bottles of wine and tell them about it.”
Across the pond in the US, distilleries, wine stores and vineyards have been coming up with similarly inventive ideas to keep business coming in.
In Estes Park, Colorado, distillery Elkins Distilling Co. is shipping out everything from branded apparel such as beanies and caps, to old fashioned rock glasses, flasks and its very own whisky BBQ sauce.