TALKING HEADS

16 May, 2008

Jamie Hutchinson

The Sampler, Islington, Londo

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What alcoholic drink do you most resemble?

Armagnac - I always get the blame for giving people hangovers.

If you could have three wishes to improve your working day what would they be?

Fewer deliveries to do, a credit card machine that works properly and a fully automatic glass-washer.

How do you deal with irritating customers?

We honestly don't have too many, although the occasional one gets past Ivy, our shop guard dog. We instruct her to lick said customer until they go away.

What would you recommend to a customer wanting to splash out?

Lynch-Bages 1985. Brilliant claret at a reasonable cost compared to the 1982. It's still £150 though.

What's the most unusual thing that has happened to you in your shop?

Carla the barwoman from Cheers asking for a bottle of Spanish Sangiovese.

Can you give us an unusual food and wine matching tip?

Spätlese or Auslese Riesling with rich chicken roast dinners. It works brilliantly.

If you had an extra hour in the day what would you do with it?

I'd have a more relaxed lunch. I've always envied the Parisien way of having a decent brasserie lunch during the week.

What are the most underrated and overrated wines in the UK market?

The most underrated wine is sweet Riesling, but shhhh, it keeps it cheap. Overrated

is grand marque Champagne (with some exceptions, but not many) - dreadful value and usually not at all interesting. LVMH is the worst offender.

When you're not working how do you seek your thrills?

I like nothing better than going fishing for bass on the south coast. I rarely

actually catch anything, but it's a great way to get out of London and relax .

What one thing would you change about the drinks industry?

I would ban all false pricing followed by deep discounting. It is patroni sing to the customer and deeply misleading.




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Lifting the spirits

I were to sum up alcohol sales over Christmas 2017 in one word, it would be “gin”. At Nielsen, we define the Christmas period as the 12 weeks to December 30 and in that time gin sales were £199.4 million, which means they increased by £55.4 million compared with Christmas 2016. There’s no sign the bubble is about to burst either. Growth at Christmas 2016 was £22.4 million, so gin has increased its value growth nearly two-and-a-half times in a year. The spirit added more value to
total a

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