the forum

09 February, 2007

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


Q I'm considering giving away free lemons with every bottle of gin and free limes with bottles of tequila. Anyone got any experience of this - or have any better ideas?

A A previous manager of mine hit on this idea to move excess bottles of sambuca. He gave away a "free sambuca kit" with every bottle: two matches and a coffee bean! He sold all the sambuca and raised a few laughs.

Jackie, Kelso

Q Would it make more sense, in these environmentally conscious times, to sell wine from bulk

containers and ask customers

to bring their own bottles?

A It already happens at Vom Fass, the German-owned retailer that now has several franchised stores in the UK. But I think the idea is more geared towards the gift market as the shops also sell decorative bottles to fill up. We encourage our customers to bring in washed-out plastic milk containers and buy their beer straight from the barrel.

Tony, Devon

Q Is it true that gin makes some people depressed and tearful?

A All alcohol is a depressant. People who aren't used to drinking spirits often blame a particular product for making them tired and emotional, but in reality there's no reason for gin to make you more tearful than any other spirit.

Brandon, Glasgow

Q I can't bear to miss Celebrity Big Brother. Do I need a special licence to watch TV in the shop?

A Yes. Even if you live in the flat above the shop, the business area is required to have its own TV licence. Not really fair, is it?

Mary, west London

Q I'm thinking about clearing out some slow-moving bottles with "mystery mixed cases". Has anyone had success with this?

EH, Essex

Q It's been suggested that I offer a full refund on wines that people don't enjoy. Does this encourage store loyalty, or just lose me lots of money as people abuse the system?

Henry, Lincs

Bookmark this

Site Search


Agreeing to disagree

Disagreeing about wine is a fact of wine-trade life, like drugs in sport or corruption in politics. Because taste is entirely subjective, debates about our personal preferences are as inevitable as they are interminable. Indeed, these long-winded, wine-fuelled arguments are precisely what make our jobs so much fun.

Click for more »
Upcoming events


Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know