Preconceptions, Misconceptions & The Independent Wine Shop

It must be true! After all we read it in the paper, hear it on the radio and see it on television everyday. If you want the cheapest price then you must shop in the multiples or big discounters. Fair enough if you want that special bottle for that special occasion then a visit to your local independent off-licence might be worth a visit and as a bonus you’ll get knowledgable and friendly service. For the everyday, however, stick with the big guys and the prices make the impersonal acceptable.

As a self employed, small business owner I work considerable hours. In fact no week would be less than 70 hours (something I’m not particularly proud of, but a fact of my life nonetheless). It means I don’t get much of a chance to see first hand what others in my line of business are doing. So, with a spare hour last Wednesday morning, and finding myself in one of those uplifting shopping centres, I took the opportunity to wander into the off-licence section of one of the major multiples. Well, what an eye opener!! Immediately one is confronted with the below-cost offerings and “half-price” wines and you wonder at their ability to continue to churn these out with little or no perceivable profit-margin. Then, when you look at their general offerings, things become a little clearer!!! Here are just some of my findings:

Smirnoff 1Ltr

Powers 1ltr

Smirnoff Lt my price €24.99

Powers ltr my price €29.99

Jameson 1Ltr – my price €29.99

Santa Rita 120 Range

Corona 6 Pack

Corona 6 pack – my price €8.50                    Santa Rita wine range – my price €7.99

My prices have been, in all cases, at that point for at least the last 12 months and are not based on some weekly special. So let’s do the sums on a simple purchase of only 5 standard off-licence products:

1ltr Smirnoff, 1Ltr Jameson, 1 x 6 pack Corona and 1 Btl each of Santa Rita Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc –                                                                                                   the multiple price €90.25, my price €79.46, a whopping difference of €10.79 on only 5 items. The multiples would take a full page advert in the Nationals to highlight a difference like this!!! Let’s not forget, also, that in all probability the cost price of those products to the multiples would be far less than to a stand alone, independent off-licence like myself.

Lesson learned? Well, no doubt it pays to shop around, but when it comes to where, it’s best to ignore the commonly held preconceptions and misconceptions of the independent wine shops and as well as getting informed, helpful and friendly advice, why not pick up a bargain too!!

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6 Responses to Preconceptions, Misconceptions & The Independent Wine Shop

  1. Brian Clayton says:

    I’m really surprised by the price differences here. I know I shop in Bradleys and I know there’s good value in the shop but I’d have assumed that on (what I would presume relatively low volume) items like 1l bottles of whiskey that the multinational would have the edge due to purchasing power. Is it all about selling on ‘special’ for them, while being able to afford to keep prices high on general stock I wonder. I suspect so, given that there’s always a certain percentage of their stock on ‘special’.

  2. That’s my impression Brian, take a good chunk on the everyday items to go towards covering the specials. I have to admit even I was surprised at the scale of the price difference though!

  3. Jay Fox says:

    a very well put together piece. I am always trying to explain to people that we are not actually “that expensive off licence” Maybe we should all do what the multiples do and stick up a sign every week! 🙂

  4. Denis Lynch says:

    As a fellow Corkman now living in the States, I come across the same every day. I am the manager of an independent fine wine and liquor store in Indianapolis. Everywhere around us are chains and grocery stores but when i do comparison shopping with them i find much the same thing, we are consistently cheaper. Keep up the good work Bradley’s, i make a point of it to visit your shop anytime i am back home for good beer and better whiskey!

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