Earlier this year, drinks shop and delicatessen Field & Fawcett, near York, scooped Drinks Retailer of the Year at the Drinks Retailing Awards. Peter and Cathryn Fawcett set up the business in an old dairy farm in 2006, bringing together Peter’s background in the wine industry and Cathryn’s food knowledge.
Peter tells Lucy Britner what’s changed in the past 17 years and what’s on the cards for the future
When we started, we were wholesale driven. In the first couple of years, wholesale accounted for around 90% of sales. Now it’s around 60%, with 30% physical retail and 10% online. We’ve tripled the retail space over the years, and we had a café before Covid, though we’ve no plans to bring it back, and this has become more retail space.
Year ending 2007, our turnover was around £400,000. Last year we did £2.2 million. We’ve put in plenty of hard work and the pandemic kind of turbocharged retail, both physical and online.
I tend to get overexcited. Our range has grown massively and if I try something new and interesting, I want to buy it. In wine, we’ve got more than 1,500 lines. In whisky, when we first opened we had 25-30, and now we have over 450. Whisky was always something I wanted to do a lot with because my first job in the trade was at Milroy’s of Soho.
In general terms, tastes have changed towards fresher styles of wine. We’re beginning to see a move towards lower alcohol, but we’ll always have a very strong base who like big reds. We’re also seeing a big uptake in Grüner Veltliner – it’s versatile. Sauvignon Blanc will always be big, particularly from New Zealand, but Grüner is a good space to take people to without scaring them too much.
Italian wine is very much our thing. That’s our best selling country and, within that, Gran Passione has been our best selling brand for a long time – it’s £12.95 and it’s like Amarone without the price tag. We’ll do at least a pallet every six weeks.
We do a lot of shipping alongside Wright Wine in Skipton. I do a lot of buying with the Wright Wine team and it gives us a point of difference. It’s more sustainable because we can ship more wine. To be at the same sort of price level as pre-Brexit, pre-Ukrainian war, we’re literally having to ship double the quantity.
Tequila is the fastest-growing spirits category in terms of percentage growth. It’s not huge, we probably have about a dozen now, but three years ago, we had two. Gin has not completely fallen off a cliff but it’s not far off. We have a good range but it’s very much about local, with a few brands that transcend that.