More indies go the wine bar route

The proportion of independent merchants selling wine for consumption on the premises has hit a new high.

Just over 37% of respondents in this year’s Wine Merchant reader survey report that customers are able to drink on their premises, up from less than 23% four years ago.

Just over 7% of respondents say they have only started selling drinks for on-premise consumption within the past year, and another 4.3% say they will definitely go this route in the coming 12 months.

Although the majority of newcomers to the independent trade now incorporate a wine bar or restaurant element within their business plans, many established merchants are resistant to the idea – with some restricted by licensing regulations, particularly in Scotland, or lacking suitable space. The survey found that 41.5% of merchants have no plans to offer on-premise sales, the lowest figure recorded in the history of the survey.

Exactly a quarter of respondents serve food, with a further 3% saying they will start doing so soon.

Eight pages of survey analysis appears in our April edition and concludes in May.