Retailer profile - Gareth Wynne, Bargain Booze

Gareth Wynne standing outside his Bargain Booze shop

Gareth Wynne operates five Bargain Booze shops – two in North Wales and three in Cheshire. He’s been in the business for 22 years. Here, he tells Drinks Retailing about changes during lockdown, coping with supply issues and plans for 2022

More often than not, my customers are 25-plus, nowadays. They like craft ales and flavoured spirits. We’ve recently refurbished the shelves to better display these items in the shops. The variety is huge – in spirits, brands such as Kopparberg gins, JJ Whitley and Whitley Neill are doing well. In Wales, Au Vodka is doing well. It makes flavoured vodka in gold bottles.

BrewDog is a trending brand right now. People are talking about it and the company has been all over the news and advertising loads. That’s definitely the next up and coming thing.

We got rid of the cigarette gantry to make room for more displays for spirits. Whisky and rum are also changing. Take rum – Dead Man’s Fingers has a number of flavours and they are all doing well.

We’ve kept our stock holding high to combat supply chain issues. It’s huge compared to what it used to be and that has paid off. Compared to other shops, ours have always looked full and that gives customers peace of mind. We’ve filled the shop floors more and the new displays hold a lot more. For one shop, we’ve hired a shipping container to give us more space.

We’re getting asked a lot for cocktail-making stuff. Head office’s social media is far better than mine – it does TikTok videos and people go on the website and see cocktail videos, so customers are asking for more of that.

Low and no-alcohol is really popular, especially in beer and cider. Kopparberg cider, Beck’s Blue and Guinness 0.0 are successful. We’ve also got a large display of hard seltzers and RTDs – we’ve got about 15 hard seltzer brands. Three Fold hard seltzers are performing well, and Mike’s.

Our split across beer, wine and spirits is pretty much a third across the board. That’s changed over the past couple of years. Spirits, especially flavoured spirits, are going really well. Beer has probably reduced a little bit and wine is getting busier and busier. On the other side of that, we’re beginning to see more of the craft ales starting to come through, as well as larger-format lagers, such as Estrella in 66cl. People are socialising at home more as well as missing holidays.

I’ve got no plans to take on more shops at the moment. I want to settle things down and push the business – continue with the refits and improve the displays. But if the right opportunity came along, I’d look at it…

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