Natalie John, Bottle Bar & Shop: “Customers have embraced self-treating”

07 June 2021, 07:25 AM
  • Natalie John, owner of Bottle Bar & Shop in Catford, shares her experience of selling drinks during Covid
Natalie John, Bottle Bar & Shop: “Customers have embraced self-treating”

How has Covid impacted your business in terms of on/off trade?

We saw huge support from people living locally, especially during the first lockdown. Home deliveries and the wholesale trade helped keep our business going during these tough months (year!). We reached new customers who discovered our bottled cocktails as a result of lockdown, which is great. In a way, we’re very lucky that our business could be so adaptable which sadly can’t be said for other types of businesses. If you’re a hairdresser, you have to shut up shop in lockdown and that’s that. We’re looking forward to our bar being open again and chatting to locals while they sip a cocktail or two! Being open as a bar, shop and bottling facility is what it’s all about for us.

How has this played out in the wider market, and do you think some of this change is here to stay?

It’s hard to say how comfortable customers will feel about coming back to bars after all this time but we certainly think that bottled cocktails are here to stay. Our customers seem to have truly embraced treating themselves to our delicious concoctions at home (and sending them as gifts to friends/family).

What trends do you foresee appearing for the warmer months?

Refreshing, natural tasting drinks with a low sugar content. Being good to yourself and knowing what you’re drinking or eating (and how it’s been made) as a consumer seems to be a growing trend. The support for local businesses, and shopping with small businesses in particular, will hopefully continue to be a big part of how consumers behave.

Looking past trends, what do you always have in stock?

You can’t beat a good Old Fashioned or a Negroni. And with the warmer weather coming, we always make sure we mix and bottle plenty of our fruity cocktails. Our Margarita and Passion Fruit Daiquiri cocktails became best sellers in the spring last year.

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