Inspiring Indies: The Jug & Bottle

14 February, 2014

This village off-licence and deli in a Victorian former schoolhouse has become a destination shop, thanks to its real ale and cider range, including a rolling choice on draught. Bottled beers are sourced from local microbreweries and craft brewers around the country and further afield, while the bottled cider range focuses on premium, niche and boutique products.

The deli environment, with a selection of cards and gifts alongside drinks and food, draws new visitors to both the shop and its range, while an annual beer festival to raise cash for local good causes has become a fixture of Bubwithís social calendar.

Louise Smith, The Jug & Bottle

Sum up your shop in one sentence: Quality with a difference.

What sets you apart from other drinks retailers? Our customer service is exceptional. Less than 1% of our stock is found on the high street and in the supermarkets.

Who is your fiercest competitor? Iíve not worried for 11 years who my competitors are. We are who we are Ė weíve survived 11 years and through a recession and things are picking up.

How do you keep customers coming back? Exceptional customer service. People make lovely comments about our style of shop and the goods inside, but if there is one comment that people make Ė and†itís the first comment they make Ė it is how lovely my staff are. They are smiling, polite and very helpful. Itís what I look for in staff over capability.

What area of the business is performing best at the moment? The deli counter Ė cake especially.

Whatís your biggest challenge as a retailer? Cash flow.

What would be your top retailing tip? Donít over-stock and keep changing stock to keep regulars interested.

Whatís the best advice youíve ever been given? Donít pander to every request from customers or else youíll end up stocking all sorts of stuff that doesnít sell. Stick with your gut instinct for stock. Just because something is popular elsewhere doesnít mean itíll sell in your shop.

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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

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