the forum

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