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Issue 76 - “If anyone starts without any knowledge there are plenty of people to teach them”

Whisky Magazine Issue 76
November 2008


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“If anyone starts without any knowledge there are plenty of people to teach them”

Ian Wisniewski talks with Keir Sword,proprietor of Royal Mile Whiskies.

IAN Can you tell me how it all began?

KEIR Through chance really, I saw an advert for a job at Royal Mile Whiskies, and worked there for the summer in the early 90s when I was a student. Initially I thought of setting up my own business as an independent bottler.

Then I thought about setting up a shop, and got quite far down the line but that fell through.

Then I learned the owners of Royal Mile Whiskies were interested in selling, so it all tied in. I got a friendly bank manager and haven't looked back since. That was 1997.

IAN How do you put your whisky list together?

KEIRWe get asked for all sorts of whiskies, so what our customers are asking for has a big say in that.

We do as many of the proprietary bottlings as we can, and we try to stock whisky from most of the independent bottlers out there.

IANWhat kind of balance do you have between single malts,blended malts,grain whisky and blended Scotch?

KEIR From our point of view we were always a malt whisky specialist.

Where we do quite well on blends these days are the more unusual blends.

In terms of blended malts it's still a small category with niche products, and niche products are ideal for us.

IANWhat range of choice do you offer customers in terms of less and more expensive options?

KEIRWe cover a full spectrum of price points, and in terms of our stock holding we have case loads of £20 whiskies, and a bottle of £1,000 whisky here and there.

We have customers who spend at all price points.

IAN And you ...

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