the forum

05 September, 2008

To respond to the unanswered questions below, or to ask a reader's advice, simply e mail:


Q I'm considering abandoning my temperamental electronic till and investing in a really old cash register. Am I being too sentimental?

A Maybe not - D Byrne, the famous wine merchant in Clitheroe, still uses its original Victorian till and nobody seems to mind.

Jenny, Cumbria

A If you've got a dodgy till, invest in a better model. Customers may be awed by an antique cash register, but they're not the ones doing your accounts or carrying out your stocktaking and ordering. Join the 21st century - it's great here.

Gina, Hull

Q Anyone want to join the advocaat revival?

A No - I know you'd argue that my sales would snowball but I reckon I'd only end up with egg on my face.

Ben, Cambs

A We sell six bottles a week so we think we've already started one. It's bizarre - we put a few bottles on promotion one weekend and since then a few people have started buying it regularly. They're clearly mad.

Dan, north London

Q I'm struggling to keep my website up to date with all my latest wines - and sometimes don't get around to deleting what's sold out. Any tips?

George, North Yorks

Q I'm considering running a wine festival at a local hall and selling tickets - I'm planning tutored tastings and nibbles and a decent range of wines. Do such events make money or is the best I can hope for to break even and generate some local publicity?

Kate, West Sussex

Q I've got a middle-aged customer who has a thing for sweet alcopops. He loves drinking them in the pub and keeps on asking me to stock them. Should I pander to his (slightly bizarre) needs, or will it just attract the wrong kind of under-age clientele?

David Johnson, Norwich

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So, George The Bear is back. Itís hard for some of us oldies to fathom, but there are those under, say, 40 who canít actually remember Hofmeister and feel the cultural jolt supplied by the return of both the bear and the beer whose marketing campaigns it used to front.

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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know