New independent off licence, The Drinks Emporium, has brought one of the UK’s largest Champagne collections to Birmingham.
Stocking wall-to-wall spirits, as well as fine wines and craft beers from around the world, the independent store has opened just off Birmingham’s Aston Expressway, with price tags ranging from £20 to £17,500.
The launch comes less than eight weeks after specialist whisky store Hard To Find Whisky opened in the Jewellery Quarter, stocking bottles up to £35,000.
At The Drinks Emporium customers can sample ‘taste of the week’ wines from enomatic machines using a credit card in a system similar to Loki Wine’s in Great Western Arcade.
But the store is also planning to use its extensive spirits collection to host cocktail classes for professional bar tenders.
Owner and Champagne Academy member Simon Ranson-Tester said: “We’re really proud of this store. We didn’t want to be just another wine shop.
“We want to have the full circle of drinks from craft beers to spirits, as well as glassware.
“Instead of going to three different shops, we’ve set out with the aim of a person coming in to buy a bottle of Champagne for their mum, some wine for their dad and some craft beers for themselves.”
As well as running the retail store, Simon has a wholesale operation supplying Birmingham venues including Purnell’s, The Edgbaston, Edmunds, Cielo, Metro Bar and Grill and Gatecrasher.
Specialising in Champagne, the new store stocks a range of more than 300 different kinds from small growers to big brands.
The fine and rare bottles are stored in a climate controlled vault, where customers can find bottles of Dom Perignon 2002 at £350, Krug Rose at £635 and a 24-carat gold encrusted jeroboam (a double magnum) of Louis Roederer Cristal 2002 at a staggering £17,500 (one of only 400 ever made).
Following this week’s launch, owners are now working on a tasting room upstairs, set to be launched in spring.
The 600-sq-ft room will feature a fully-fitted bar that can be used to offer specialist training and mixology courses, and the venue is set to host supplier-led tastings for specific brands.
Simon said: “What we really want to help people to do is taste.
“The tasting room will allow them to come here and try.”
The Drinks Emporium is also producing its own blend of coffee for customers to sip as they peruse the booze.
The shop can be found next to Matalan on the Dartmouth Circus roundabout, less than half a mile’s walk from the city centre.