Confessions of a retailer: Gerry’s Wines & Spirits

17th July, 2017 by admin

Allen Daly, manager of London’s Soho-based Gerry’s Wines & Spirits, is determined to inject fun into the industry, and his loyal customers seem to appreciate it.

Allen Daly, manager of London’s Soho-based Gerry’s Wines & Spirits

The qualities I look for in a product are taste, design and price. For the best way for new spirits producers to get their products stocked with us, it always helps to buy us a coffee. With so many new products you need to have a story. It also needs to be a good spirit (you’d be surprise how many aren’t) and we need to be able to taste the product. The selling price also needs to seem achievable.

The best-selling spirit product at Gerry’s Wines & Spirits at the moment is our Konik’s Tail vodka. The bestselling brands stay fairly consistent but we do see different trends, for example, during the summer we see greater rum sales and whisky tends to be more popular when it is cold.
Here at Gerry’s we have a counter service – it’s a bit like going to a hardware store – and if our customers don’t know exactly what they want, they can be guided by the knowledge and experience of our staff. Our customers are adventurers and like to try new things.

The most challenging aspect of my job is, like everybody, trying to find the next big thing before it happens. The most exciting part of my job is finding something new and having customers get into it.

I first got interested in the drinks industry when I started working in Victoria Wines. After doing many different jobs there, I thought it wasn’t so exciting, but then I went to work for Michael Kyprianou, the then manager at Gerry’s Wines & Spirits, and the range of wines and spirits was amazing.

One of our latest products that we are all really happy with is an acorn liqueur from Spain called Sabores Licor de Bellota, a little bit like Frangelico, but with a slight Manuka mustiness and a drier finish; it works really well with aged Tequila. We also like bacon Bourbon, which is a little bit more challenging.

There isn’t any one spirit category exciting me at the moment, but I do think new-world whisky has the potential for really shaking things up, as Scotch and American whisk(e)y producers seemingly have no regard for their customers. They often have high prices and no availability.

Our customers range from people who live and work in Soho, tourists and bartenders or hospitality workers. On any given day in Gerry’s you will find a mix of industry people, local characters and, of course, the great British public all sampling our latest spirits and liqueurs. We try and support independent producers who will work with us to sell their products with in-store tastings.

The culture for cocktails and spirits in the UK seems to be better than ever, because the price to go out for a night costs nearly as much as the rent. People can spend more on good-quality spirits and enjoy them at home with friends.

The only reason that Gerry’s has survived as long as we have is the service that we provide to our customers. You can now get everything you want on the internet so when you come to Gerry’s, whether we are dancing to ’70s or ’80s soul music or the theme from Zorba the Greek, everyone is welcome to join in. The drinks industry should be the most fun industry and some people take it far too seriously.

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