A drinks delivery service launched last year as a result of the pandemic is set to break £1 million in sales as it gears up for the busy festive season.
Based in East Kilbride, Liquid Vault provides mixed boxes of beers, ciders and spirits from mainly Scottish brands. The business is headed by industry veteran Craig Cowles, along with co-founders Graeme Harrowell and David Proctor.
Mr Cowles, who previously worked with AG Barr and Molson Coors, originally set up The Crafters in March 2019 after leaving his last corporate job with US drinks group Dr Pepper Snapple. Established with backing from peer-to-peer support organisation The Alternative Board, The Crafters helped smaller brewers and distillers expand their presence in bars and restaurants.
“Then of course in March 2020 everything changed because the locations we were selling into and developing for brands, that channel closed down with the on-trade,” Mr Cowles said.
He and Mr Proctor, who both previously worked at AG Barr, came up with the idea for an ecommerce version of the business. They were joined by Mr Harrowell, whose background is in order fulfilment, and the Liquid Vault was launched in July 2020 on Amazon.
“The business has taken off,” Mr Cowles said. “Twelve and a bit months later, there is no looking back. The business I had – I am not even considering going back into the on-trade.”
The firm has since launched its own Liquid Vault website, which currently has 8,000 users, and is gearing up for further growth.
“Online is built for the gift experience,” Mr Cowles said. “With the closure of many high street stores, people…are often left thinking where do you go, what do you buy?”
He added: “Pretty much every pack on our site will be gift-able in one way or another, with things like different packaging and personalised messaging. All of this is part of our next phase of planning for the next six weeks so we are ready for that Christmas period and beyond.”