Browns has a great reputation as a wine bar, so why are you introducing an Off Sales Arm to your business?
I’ve been thinking about doing this for some time. We get lots of requests from customers to buy wine from us. This will allow us to expand the range of wines we can make available and offer something different to the supermarkets.
Surely you can’t compete with the super markets and the Internet?
We think we can - both on price and in terms of quality and service. We’ve done price comparisons with several of our wines on the Internet and we usually match or beat companies like Majestic. Dartmouth’s new supermarkets actually made the decision easier for us. Lots of people are beginning to realise that if a wine is heavily discounted it probably wasn’t very good in the first place. You get lots of choice, but little guidance. This can be very frustrating when you get home with a bottle of quite expensive Chablis and discover that it’s a bit bland or not the style you had hoped for.
What sort of wines will you be selling?
Browns is genuinely a destination for people who like wine. We sell more wine than beer and more sparkling wines than our house wines! People trust us to guide them to a wine that they want to drink. We have traditionally specialised in Mediterranean wines but have been building our New World wine list and will continue to do so.
Do you buy your wines from one supplier?
No, I’ve always spent a lot of time selecting my wines and talking to suppliers which is why I have rather more suppliers than perhaps I should! If I find a great wine like our best selling rose Chateau Miravel, then I am prepared to buy just that one wine from a supplier even if I have to buy large volumes to get an attractive price. I hope that is what differentiates our wines.
What is the price range of your wines?
Our wines will range from under £5 to under £30 for our champagnes. Most of our wines will be between £6.50 and £10. We have a bottle price and a mixed case price for 12 bottles. We will also provide wines for weddings and big parties for a flat fee.
You are introducing a Wine Club, can you tell us a little more?
Anybody can buy wine by walking into Browns and buying a bottle. However we are creating a Wine Club for those people who are really interested in wine. We will offer additional discounts at Browns, a loyalty card, invitations to wine tastings and a regular newsletter which will discuss topical wine issues. You can sign-up for the Wine Club at the Bar and from our website.
Finally, do you have any introductory offers?
We will offer our mixed case price on individual wines for May, when people join our Wine Club.
First published May 2009 By the Dart