Whisky Magazine Issue 96
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Our man pulls up an armchair for a consultation in the whisky showroom
In terms of roads to the wonderful word that is whisky, everyone has their own road to Damascus, that moment when you realise that where you previously couldn't see what all the fuss was about, was actually something really quite special. For Geoff Utting of La Zouch Cellars the road in question was the A81 just north of Glasgow. The bottle in question was Glengoyne 17. At the time Geoff and his wife Lynne were working as Steward and Stewardess behind the bar at Willesley Park Golf Club and just decided to put their natural hospitality skills to better use and open a small restaurant in Ashby-de-la-Zouch
This I'm sure was what first threw me when I visited La Zouch Cellars for the first time. As whisky shops go. The one thing it doesn't look like at all, is a whisky shop. The restaurant is still very much an important part of the business for Geoff and Lynne. Indeed it wasn't until they'd been running the restaurant for 12 years in 1994 that they branched out into the retail sales of wines and spirits. At the time the country was suffering at the hand of John Major's government and they needed to diversify, to expand and grow the business. That's when the A81 and that bottle of Glengoyne 17 resurfaced. Geoff and Lynne decided that wherever possible they would fly the flag for ‘UK PLC' in the restaurant and the shop. Whisky, Scotch whisky would be the cornerstone of the development of the business.
But as wine and whisky sales grew, they outgrew the small area on the ground ...