In the current issue of Imbibe, our columnist Hamish Anderson looks into the future of wine, which he says is moving away from wine bottles. And proof of that can be found this month in London's Dalston, where bag-in-box wine bar BIB has taken residency.
Kirsty Tinkler, who also runs wine club Weino London alongside her day job as general manager at Great Queen Street restaurant, decided to launch BIB (for bag-in-box) after seeing the mixed reactions boxed wine would get in hospitality.
'We’ve seen a few wines coming in bag-in-box in venues I've worked in,' Tinkler told Imbibe. 'But sometimes restaurants were hiding them. I thought that was weird. I think people should change their mindset about it.'
She chose to focus on natural wines because they 'fit with her personal ethics'. 'I do think everyone should drink natural wine, but a lot of it [is] quite expensive. For the people making wine, bag-in-box is the best way they can compete with [big producers].'
Her customers have had 'a bit of a laugh' at first, but most were positively surprised, she said. 'There's always the assumption that bag-in-box is really bad wine. When you go to the supermarket, it's always on the bottom shelf. But customers were really surprised by the quality.
'It's the best way for restaurants to have good house wine that really represents them instead of sub standard products,' she said, adding that bag-in-box means low costs when it comes to waste management. It's also interesting for customers – at BIB 125ml pours fall between £2.50 and £3.40, with Tinkler making about 75% GP.
'The response is a little bit unexpected,' she continued. 'It seems it's quite timely. And while it was a bit hard work at first [finding suppliers], since I’ve started it more people have been coming out of the woodwork. Some suppliers are actually talking to winemakers about doing bag-in-box too. I think it’s all there already but under the radar.'
BIB is open Wednesday to Saturday until the end of November at Brunswick East, 3 Gillett Street, N16 8JH.
Image: Louise Sheeran