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Issue 55 - Shop to find a drop

Whisky Magazine Issue 55
April 2006

 

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Shop to find a drop

The Whisky Shop is bringing whisky to a new market by mixing High Street marketing techniques with outstanding whisky. Dominic Roskrow spoke to Ian Bankier

It's a wet day out of season in the English tourist city of York. There are few people out and about but at The Whisky Shop, nestling in the city centre next to the Jorvic Centre, there is a steady stream of people.

I'm chatting to Ian Bankier when he spots an ageing weather-worn couple who seem a little out of sorts. She's looking round with interest, he looks like he'd rather be chewing a pair of sweaty old socks.

Bankier offers the woman a Scottish malt whisky-based liqueur.

“And can I tempt you with a malt,” he says to the man, who perks up a little. A minute later the woman tells her husband that if he likes the whisky that much she'll treat him to it.

“And that in a nutshell is how The Whisky Shop works,” says a beaming Bankier as the couple leave, the man clutching his purchase gleefully. “It's amazing how many times it's the woman who leads the way.”

Chief executive Ian Bankier bought The Whisky Shop some two years ago at a time when its small number of shops were floundering. Since then he's all but doubled the number of outlets to 10.

New outlets in Scotland have now been joined by shops in Newcastle and York.

And Bankier and his team aren't cutting corners. The rent on the York site, in a primary retail location, runs to tens of thousands of pounds.

“To survive here we have to use all the tricks of High Street retailing,” he says.

“But with the English shops in particular I believe we are taking advantage of an untapped market and I thin...

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