December saw the opening of Half Cut Market in Islington. The wine range at the boutique store has been selected by former Noble Rot sommelier Holly Willcocks, who co-owns the business.
Keeling Andrew, Noble Rot’s sister import business, is among the suppliers Willcocks is working with. “I love their wines so much, I couldn’t live without them,” she says.
Wines from Graft, Newcomer Wines and Beattie & Roberts are also in the mix. Willcocks says: “I’m hoping to source from as many small independent importers as I can because we’re trying to work with the smallest producers possible – we’re the little people that want to help all the other little people.
“For drinking-in we have three by-the-glass options, from KeyKeg,” Willcocks explains.
“I have an English sparkling, an Austrian white and a Spanish Tempranillo on at the moment and then at the weekends I’ve been opening something from the shelves. That could be something that I want to try or something that someone is particularly asking for. We can do that because we are a small place, we’re flexible.”
Flying the craft beer flag for the business is fellow co-founder Edwin Methu, who has ensured draught beer is on the menu with a selection from new and exciting brewers including Floc Brewing Co.
The team, which also includes Paul Rosser and Danny Eilenberg, is taking its green credentials seriously. Initiatives include a cork recycling scheme and serving as a drop-off destination for soft plastic recycling.
“We’re going for a neighbourhood vibe,” says Willcocks, “and so far people have been really excited to see us.
“A lot of restaurants converted into little shops or minimarts during lockdown and now they have mostly turned back so we are losing all those spaces, which I think worked really nicely.
“We would definitely like to extend beyond the one shop, and we need to get this one rolling first before we plan for a second. But in terms of scale, it makes sense to have a couple.”