Whisky Magazine Issue 50
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Innovation in whisky is alive and well in the historic market town of Leek,Staffordshire. Richard Jones reports
For someone who has managed to create one of the country's most innovative and interesting whisky ranges, it's perhaps surprising that the parting words of the previous owner still occasionally haunt David Wood.
“He told me that I'd never be able to sell whisky above £30 a bottle,” he recalls. “That price was a big issue with many people and anything more expensive would simply sit on the shelves. Sometimes, when I've just selected an old or rare bottle, I can hear his words ringing in my head.” David Wood and his wife (and business partner) Léonie bought The Wine Shop in the historic market town of Leek, Staffordshire in December 2003. They had both spent virtually their entire working careers at the national off-licence multiple now known as Threshers.
“We never dreamed we'd own our own shop, we just dropped on it at exactly the right time. The store had been in my home town of Leek for about 15 years and the owner was looking to retire.
“I'd just been made redundant by Threshers and Léonie was on maternity leave.
We happened to find out by chance that the shop was for sale, so we immediately offered the money and got it.” At the shop itself, Léonie is responsible for the wine and David takes care of the whisky.
“I'm incredibly passionate about whisky and, despite the warnings from the previous owner, I really wanted the opportunity to sell it. Wherever possible, we always have a sample of every bottle open – we've grown our reputation on the fact...