Caviste launches The Spirits Room ecommerce platform

interior of a shop selling spirits

Hampshire-based Caviste has launched a dedicated spirits website, following the success of its spirits-only shop, The Spirits Room.

The physical store (pictured) opened in October 2021, next door to the Caviste wine shop at Newlyns Farm.

Owner and managing director Mark Bedford said The Spirits Room ecommerce platform was a “logical” next step from the store.

“Like many independent wine merchants, we have a spirits section,” he said. “And for some wine customers, that was all we needed, but for spirits customers, it was definitely less than they wanted.”

He said the increase in turnover has already justified the move to a seperate physical store, though he said he would have a better idea of success in January, after a “proper run up to Christmas”.

“The turnover of spirits, since we opened the shop, has gone up by five times. Which is probably not as much as we would have liked, but enough to persuade us that we've made the right decision to do what we've done.”

Bedford said The Spirits Room website has taken three months from inception to launch, with a price tag of “about £8,000, plus a lot of hours of work”.

The spirits arm is headed up by former Berry Bros & Rudd wine and spirits advisor Will Blakeley, who kept some special releases aside for the launch of the website, including Lowland single malt Daftmill and Foursquare rum.

Blakeley said the releases sold out “within minutes”, with “mainly new” customers coming from across the UK.

He said the main area of focus for The Spirits Room is dark spirits as well as agave spirits. Meanwhile, except for gin made by whisky distillers and some local brands, the pair said gin tends to sell better in the wine shops.

Bedford described the wine side of the business as a “local wine merchant with a national reach” with the split two thirds local to one third national. The spirits operation, he said, is the opposite.

The website and shop will run similar promotions, with the latest centred around US whiskey Michters.

The pair will also use the website to market more exclusive products, and they are in talks to broker private whisky collections, though details are still under wraps for now.

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