Birmingham’s wine-scene is at last well and truly established. For years there was only a handful of people seriously selling, buying, tasting and presenting wine. For a time it seemed that there was actually only Connolly’s and me: them selling, me presenting. Both Chris Connolly and I have been in the business all our working lives, about a quarter of a century each, but neither of us truly capitalised on the potential interest out there. To be fair, we didn’t have facebook or twitter or blogs or even the internet in the old days; how on earth did we manage?
Between the desert of then and the fertile plain we have now, there was Oddbins (now deceased in the Midlands), Majestic and Selfridges. Harvey Nicks if you must and Costco for those of us who are members. There’s the wonderful Nickolls & Perks in Stourbridge who have, for over a hundred years, been quietly making a name for themselves selling premium wines worldwide but if you check-out the website you’ll see they sell all manner of wine and whisky. Much of their business is to Asia and America but we’re lucky enough to have them a few miles down the Hagley Road.
Then Loki came along and shook things up. Not in a good way. In a GREAT way. What a joy to have a fun and funky wine shop with a seriously good range and the opportunity to taste with or without buying a bottle. Wine tasting events, wine dinners, winemakers from all over the world coming to talk to us here in Brum. Loki set the ball of wine interest rolling. Now it’s set to rock and roll: The Drinks Emporium will be opening its doors at 217 Aston Road on 24th November. And, wow, Wine Lovers, you are in for a treat.
The private opening was last night. Annoyingly I couldn’t stop for more than five minutes as I was presenting Bordeaux wines in another part of town, but at first glance, I could see that is was a destination shop. A destination I’d like to reach quite regularly.
The range is currently around 400 simply displayed in 1600 sq ft ; somehow the shop is designed to draw you in, encouraging you to explore and investigate. The champagne corner is a fizz fanatic’s dream, there’s a little room off for the fine and rare wines and, next year, upstairs there’ll be enomatic tasting machines and events. This will be competition for Loki, but competition is healthy and develops the market. This is a new chapter in Birmingham’s wine story and it will inspire yet more wine-drinkers to try new wines, to learn more and spend more. Take yourself down to The Drinks Emporium, put aside an hour or two to have a browse over a coffee (they do ‘freshly brewed Italian coffee’) but don’t forget your credit card because you will find something to buy.
Fellow Birmingham Wine Lover, you are now officially spoilt for choice.