Launching just ahead of lockdown, initially Niche Cocktails feared the worst but has successfully pivoted and inadvertently found it may have a solution for bars in a social distancing world.
Paddy Bishopp, CEO of Niche Cocktails, tells us more about Niche Cocktails which provides premium cocktails with high-quality ingredients in a can, in addition to being the first UK company to produce ‘canned shorts’. Its canned and easy-serve formula provides the perfect solution to create a premium cocktail in an efficient and safe way, whether that be at home or in a hospitality environment operating under social distancing.
What do you currently do at Niche Cocktails?
Although I have the title of CEO we are a small team that gets stuck in where required. My main focus is strategic direction as well as sales and marketing but you will often see me packing in the warehouse, helping on a photoshoot or doing a 09.30 in the morning cocktail tasting for NPD (that’s the tough part of the job).
What was the inspiration behind your business?
We were approached by Bob Scott, aged 69, who in his retirement travelled around and fell in love with cocktail ingredients and mixology. On his return to The UK he set up Niche Cocktails serving his cocktails at people’s parties and approached Shout About Suffolk, a Business Start Up Incubator I co-founded with Richard Croft to see what he could do with the trademark he had.
I was seeing a rise in cocktails in cans and at the same time an industry problem of how to serve bar-quality cocktails, quickly and efficiently without the need for an expensive mixologist. Nearly all cocktails in cans never live up to the expectation, due to reduced alcohol ABV and added sweetness to counter this.
Our brief was simple, it must taste as if made by your favourite barman using all-natural flavours. I am proud to say I think we have nailed it.
Who do you admire?
Danny Meyer, Founder of Grammercy Street Tavern and a renowned New York restaurateur who ignored conventional wisdom to revolutionise the restaurant industry.
Looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?
Ideally, I would not have launched into the trade a week before lockdown, but I am equally very proud of how we quickly adapted the model and moved online becoming a direct to consumer brand.
I have made many mistakes, but I always learn from them. A great motto I believe to be true is ‘fail fast, learn quickly’.
What defines your way of doing business?
I live by one mantra – it has to work and be fair for all parties. If it does not it will break down somewhere. Building relationships is key to long-term business.
What advice would you give to someone starting out?
Do your research. You can have the best product in the world but if you do not know the market you will struggle.
Be patient – don’t rush it. It will also always take longer then you want it to.
How do you see Niche Cocktails progressing over the next year?
COVID-19 has brought about a very unpredictable future so for 2020 our focus is on building online and direct routes to the consumer.
We are also perfect for the on-trade at the moment as we solve an issue for the industry post COVID-19. Our product really helps improve both safety and efficiency as we return to a new normal. The functionality of our products can vastly improve speed of service and queuing times, and furthermore our cans offer a ‘one touch serve’ which mitigates the transmission risk in comparison to a traditional cocktail where the barman may have to touch 5 ingredients before presenting the drink to the consumer.
There are challenges as many in the on-trade are focusing on survival, rather than new products or innovation, however my aim is to make sure we are explaining why they should be and being at the front of the queue when they are ready.