Hanging Ditch Wine Merchants closes permanently

Hanging Ditch Wine Merchants has closed its doors for good with owner Ben Stephenson admitting the store had become a casualty of Covid-19.

The hybrid wine shop, which opened in June 2008, benefitted from a large south facing terrace, but Stephenson said the site was “always difficult to run due to it being very weather dependent”.

He added: “However the cosy shop was regularly packed like sardines on Saturday afternoons when the weather wasn’t so good.”

The shop, which was one of the first in the UK to incorporate both a shop and a bar within the same site, via the use of a Vinoteca-style operation, struggled with the on-trade closure earlier this year and then again when Manchester was put under level 3 lockdown measures last month.

Stephenson said: “The arrival of Covid-19 sounded the death knell for Hanging Ditch. The cost intimacy of this small site made it impossible to trade in a safe way. In addition, following lockdown, the footfall in Manchester City Centre has decreased dramatically.”

He noted that the store’s spirit lives on in the form of Blossom Street Social in Ancoats, which opened at the end of last year.

“The site is much bigger, which has enabled them to trade while maintaining social distancing through a very challenging year,” he said.

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