Darren Boyd-Preece, owner of The Dram Gift Shop on Botanic Road in Churchtown in Southport. Photo by Andrew Brown Media

A new whisky-inspired gift shop is due to open in Churchtown in Southport on Saturday, 30th April 2022, providing even greater choice for discerning food and drink lovers in the picturesque shopping village.

The Dram Gift Shop will occupy 76 Botanic Road, offering goods such as hip flasks, whisky glasses, whisky infused tea, whisky perfume and a choice of 35-40 carefully selected fine whiskies.

Shoppers would be able to try some of the whisky on offer inside the shop before they buy.

The Dram Gift Shop will add to the quality food and drink choice already provided by the likes of Chuchtown Deli, which also sells alcohol and holds tasting events, as well as RS Fine Chocolate, Peets Plaice fishmongers, Graham Eyes butchers and others.

The new business would fill another empty retail unit on Botanic Road, adding to the vitality of the Village, and increase Churchtown’s reputation as a home to a growing number of quality local independent businesses.

The Dram Gift Shop owner Darren Boyd-Preece says he appreciates the tremendous support he has already received from other business owners and residents in the area who are looking forward to the new addition opening.

He said: “I have been speaking to a number of the business owners along Botanic Road. They are very supportive of what we are aiming to do with our new gift shop.

“There are lots of synergies with other shops in Churchtown Village.

“Our business model is very similar to Churchtown Deli, a superb shop which has been operating successfully for a number of years. They provide quality food and drink, including alcohol, and occasionally hold small, intimate tasting nights. They are very much a shop and not a bar, and that’s what we are aiming to create too.

“The Dram will be a shop whose theme for our products is whisky. Only about 15% of what I sell will contain alcohol.”

Darren is impressed with the independent quality food and drink offering that exists in Churchtown now, and is looking forward to adding something new.

He said: “The Dram is going to be a whisky gift shop.

“Around 75% of the shop will be taken up with the sale of whisky related items including, hip flasks, whisky decanters, coffee made with whisky, whisky infused toiletries  lots of whisky glassware, and our ‘Whisky Wall’, which will initially be selling 35-40 different types of whisky. We are looking to be selling gift boxes too.

“It will be about pairing up your favourite whisky for your friends and family, suitable for male and female alike, with a hip flask, or another gift. The gifts we have will complement the whisky.

“This is going to be a shop where people can come and experience whisky. We are a shop, definitely not a bar. We are not applying for a music licence or anything like that.

“This is a shop where you will be able to walk in and try the merchandise before you buy it.”

Shoppers will be able to walk into Dram and try small samples of the whisky on offer before they decide what to buy, which is why Darren has applied to Sefton Council for a licence.

“This is important for a shop like this, which will be selling an unusual array of whisky, mainly from Scotland, but also from places including the USA, Japan, England, Wales and Australia. It is opening up a new world for people.

“Our whiskies will be mainly from smaller, artisan distilleries, giving discerning whisky lovers a different choice to what they would see in the likes of Tesco or Co-Op.

“There will be tastes, flavours and distilleries that people will probably not have come across before, which is why tasting is important.” 

Prices will range from £25 per bottle up to £250 per bottle, another reason why trying before people buy will be a feature of what The Dram provides.

The Premises Licence could see the shop open up to 11am-4pm Monday-Tuesday; 10am-7pm Wednesday-Saturday; and 12pm-5pm Sunday.

Darren said: “People are not going to come in and buy an expensive bottle of whisky they have never heard of without being able to try what they are buying first.

“People will be able to come into the shop, sit down and try it. We will be able to supply tasting sheets and tasting notes. We will have brands like Jura, Glenfiddich, but also lots of brands that people have never been able to experience before. There will be something for every level here. I have tried to cater for all parts of the whisky world. I want there to be a real buzz about it.

“All the different regions in Scotland have their own taste differences, there are so many flavours available. In other parts of the world, they are not bound by the rules governing the making of ‘Scotch’, so the flavours are different again. There are some very exciting whiskies being made in places like Australia at the moment.”

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com

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