Meet Henry and Cassie from Butlers Wine Cellar in Brighton Brighton News

OUR catering business of the week is The Butlers Wine Cellar in Brighton. Nick Mosley talks to Henry Butler and Cassie Gould.

The Butlers Wine Cellar is a family run winemaker with outlets at Queen’s Park Road and St George’s Road, Brighton.

The business started in the 1970s and is now run by partners Henry Butler and Cassie Gould.

Henry, what’s the butler’s journey?

It is a fiercely independent wine shop, which focuses on interesting, tasty and good value wines.

We sell wines from most wine regions, with a special focus on California, Portugal and wines from England.

We are founding members of a national group of some of the UK’s best independent wine merchants focused on importing exciting new wines into the country.

We’ve always taken a fun approach to wine, whether it’s our social media presence or hosting events, including at many of the food festivals in Brighton and Hove.

Cassie, what was your experience like last year? Are things improving?

It finally looks like foreclosure is a thing of the past and we are once again entering a more normal way of trading.

It’s definitely a new and different normal, but at least we can finally review and talk to our customers.

After surviving the erratic lockdown wine buying trends, for us, business has calmed down a bit right now for home consumption since bars and restaurants reopened.

That said, as soon as it rains, we receive a flurry of local deliveries. May has been a better month for us due to the miserable weather I’m sure.

We are now open from Wednesday to Saturday, hurray!

We are certainly seeing a demand for more “treat” wines now that people have something to celebrate and others to share it with.

We are also seeing an interest in orange, natural and low sulfur wines which we now sell quite a bit.

Henry, why should people turn to their local winemakers for wine, beer and spirits rather than supermarkets?

I come from an independent background – we’re an independent local store – and we personally buy from other local businesses by default, that’s how I’m wired.

Some people like the buying relationship you have when entering a freelance, others like the non-confrontational approach of a wine aisle in a supermarket.

There is room for both, but we are a specialist and put in hours of work to refine a product line that we believe brings a lot of joy.

It is in our best interest not to make a one-time deal with a client, but rather to build a long-term relationship.

Prices are comparable unless you buy only from discounted supermarket deals.

We, as freelancers, have time to discuss and advise, so hopefully the client will end up with the wine that best suits their needs.

Henry, for the next few months, are there any key trends in alcohol consumption?

There are always a lot of mini trends or fashions, which can be annoying.

We try to stay true to our mission, to taste as much as possible, constantly review our range and stock the wines that we believe offer interest and value.

There seems to be a lot of talk about buying natural or orange wines.

We have a few of the two – we’ve had these for many years – but we make sure to choose wines that we love and think are of good quality, rather than just storing them because they’re natural or orange.

The Argus: Henry and Cassie from ButlersHenry and Cassie from Butlers

We have seen an increase in sales of lighter reds, such as wines from Portugal, France and Italy.

My immediate fear would be that due to the costs of Brexit and administrative delays, importing small packages from great producers could become too expensive.

Cassie, did you have time to go out to bars and restaurants?

Yes! We’ve been out a few times already and sat outside and this week we have our first reservations inside which we can’t wait.

We have been to the fantastic Flint House – which I dreamed of sweet corn fritters during the lockdown – and are heading to Wild Flor, Due South, Fourth and Church and The Grand Hotel in the next week.

We have a reservation at Mere in London in July which will be an adventure.

We supply hospitality companies across town and many cannot order wines fast enough now.

It’s great to be a part of it because we’re as happy as everyone that hospitality is back, but now we have to deal with the consequences of Brexit that are affecting many aspects of our business.

It’s a continual juggling act but we’re really happy to move on again.

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This notice was published: 2021-06-06 04:48:00

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