Home cocktail kits success 'saved' north Derbyshire bar and cafe during lockdown
A North Derbyshire coffee and cocktail lounge said the success of their new cocktail kits which launched at the start of this year ‘saved their business’ while they were forced to shut over lockdown.
Mitchell Hinchliffe, who runs Lounge Coffee Bar and Cafe in Eckington, decided the company needed to diversify to offer at home drinks making packages, in order to survive financially during the several months where they were unable to open for customers.
The director set up the business on High Street, along with his girlfriend Ellie Sanders and his mum Angela Hinchliffe, four years ago.
But Mitchell came up with the idea to sell cocktail making kits – where customers can receive deliveries of pre-measured alcohol bases, mixers, syrups, garnishes and straws right to their door – after a conversation with his partner in December.
While the coffee and drinks lounge served takeaway afternoon teas and cocktails in summer 2020, the situation became ‘dire’ when the business faced months of being shut after being plunged into a third lockdown at the start of the year.
Mitchell said: "A lot of people have been doing it over Skype, there were similar ideas out there but nothing really like this and nothing seemed to have worked like ours has.
"A lot of [customers] have said trying to make cocktails themselves isn’t the same, they don't know the right ingredients, they don't know the right measurements, you have to google things, even with the products you can buy from Sainsbury's or Asda you can't buy the same ones that we can.
"We know where to get your proper bases, your good syrups that work for certain cocktails and different cocktails.
"It was the taste of going out out but at home.”
Since the cocktail making kits which can be purchased through the Lounge Coffee Bar and Cafe website launched, the items became ‘bestsellers’ on independent business marketplace Etsy and are soon to be available to purchase on Amazon.
The director has recruited a new member of staff, who starts work on Monday, to create and package the at home drinks packages to keep up with the demand for orders – despite the coffee and cocktail lounge having now reopened.
Mitchell, who also runs The Fox and Hounds in Eckington, music venue The Library by Lounge in the Lower Don Valley area and Amber Lane Coffee Company, shared how his business has emerged debt-free from lockdown due to the success of their new product.
"We are loving it, it's fantastic to have another side project”, he added.
"Even with times at the minute, we've kind of gone back to normal and we are doing alright again but it is just having that extra source of income.
"It has saved our business.
"I don't know if we would have survived without these new kits, or we would have but we'd have had to rely on bounce back loans.
"We have come out of this completely debt free and managed to pay all our own finances and all the company's finances off without losing a penny which is very good compared to a lot of stories I've heard.
"If it weren't for this, during the lockdown from December we would definitely have fallen below the red line.”