Borough Wines to corner wholesale

Borough Wines & Beers is ramping up its focus on its wholesale arm and Borough Wines Corners concept, and on the retail side has just opened its ninth store.

Company founder Muriel Chatel told DRN it had invested a little in Borough Wines Corners last year and now wants to build up this and wholesale.

The Corners concept, which often includes Borough’s popular Straight from the Barrel wine re lls, sees concessions in independent delis and farm shops nationwide.

Chatel said: “When we started the Corners we were surprised how well it worked but it makes sense. We are known as a wine merchant and we have got a reputation. People know the quality of our wines and they like the brand. From their point of view they are not necessarily wine specialists. They don’t have to get involved in the selection of the wines as we do that for them. Starting out on your own can be quite hard but with us they have a bigger range to choose from and we can help with marketing.”

It also helps to move the brand outside of London, said Chatel. The company exhibited at a deli and farm shop trade show earlier this year, and as a result it now has new Corners in Manchester and Aberdeen, and two more will open in July, in Chepstow and Newcastle. Chatel is also talking to people in other areas, including Bristol.

“Now that the model is working we can install them quite quickly. We have an ideal selection of 35 to 40 wines – we want people
to have enough wines that their customers don’t have to go to another wine merchant – and within that there is a core range and some we can rotate.

“The convenience aspect
is brilliant, so if you have this convenience with the expertise of a wine merchant then that is a winning formula.”

In terms of the company’s retail arm, Chatel said the new site on Battersea Park Road is working well and new stores – in south London and possibly outside of the city – are still on the agenda.

The new site is the company’s rst foray south of the river since it was founded in Borough Market in 2002.

Chatel said: “Battersea is a very cosmopolitan area and a hotspot for the European community. Battersea Park Road is a dream location for us – a bustling local high street, full
of personality and surrounded by independent businesses. With the development of Nine Elms and Battersea Power Station locally, it’s also an exciting time to be joining the neighbourhood.”

The Straight from the Barrel system is also in the store, along with a range of global craft beers and spirits from local producers.

In addition, there is an area for drinking in, which can also be used for regular events and tutored tasting.

Chatel said: “When I started the business I was really focused on being off-trade before on-trade and I think there is a risk when you start doing on-trade that you could end up being a wine bar instead of a wine shop. I didn’t want that.

“We have always had an element of on-trade but now everyone knows who we are
I don’t see it as so much of a problem. I am ready to go the other way a bit more now and make sure it is a place where people can enjoy a glass of wine as well as buy wine to take home.”

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