I recently popped into Fortnum & Mason on Piccadilly in central London.
The ground and lower ground floors of the store are devoted to food. Like the vast majority of people in there I was there to admire the building itself, to laughingly imagine I was able to afford one of the £1,000 famous picnic hampers, and to see if I could see any posh people doing their weekly big shop.
As one would expect from a shop in such a glamorous location, and one that started life as a store selling half-used wax from the Queen’s nightly candles, the displays are glamorous and high-end.
Fortnum & Mason is a shop known for its tea, hampers and aspic-preserved meat. But in the centre of one of the most exclusive shops in London was a range of exciting beers
The alcohol section is no different. The lighting and layout is exquisite and the spirits include a huge number of premium and UK-based gins, vodkas and whiskeys.
The highlight of the whole thing was a stand-alone barrel display, selling a Fortnum-exclusive blend of Jack Daniels Single Barrel for £64. I have started my Christmas list.
But as easy as it is to praise the quality of the range on offer, that isn’t the thing that caught my eye. The thing that caught my eye was the craft beer can and bottle display. A simple two-metre fridge stood alone, slightly away from the spirit section.
On it were 19 lines, both local London beers and offerings from Switzerland and the USA. All double fronted as a minimum, the range was simple and eye-catching.
It had two porters and two stouts, three ciders, a five-strong range of pale ales and two red ales. It had big craft names like Beavertown next to up-and-coming local (London-based) beers with exciting stories like Hiver and Toast.
It was well thought out, well ranged, simple and effective. Fortnum & Mason is a shop known for its tea, hampers and aspic-preserved meat. But in the centre of one of the most exclusive shops in London was a range of exciting beers.
If they can do it and make it work, then there’s no reason that you can’t entertain your customers in the same way.
Read more: Why the craft beer opportunity for retailers isn’t just about what’s on the shelves