New Town outlet

Cockburns of Leith shop targets discerning drinkers

New shop: Cockburns of Leith in Frederick Street (pic: Terry Murden)

Scotland’s oldest wine merchant, which counted Sir Walter Scott, Charles Dickens, and King George IV among its customers, has opened its first bottle shop targeting a new generation of discerning drinkers.

Cockburns of Leith believes its physical store in Frederick Street will appeal to those who like to understand more about the brands and also taste before they buy.

The business was established in 1796 by brothers Robert and John Cockburn who sought to supply global wine and spirits to Edinburgh’s upwardly mobile social classes as the city grew rapidly during the Enlightenment.

Through a history of changing drinking habits and changes of ownership – including the Canadian conglomerate Seagram’s and the Drambuie Liqueur Company – Cockburns of Leith was acquired from the administrators in 2010 by Murray Capital, the private investment office of the Murray family, which has made significant investment to maintain and grow the brand.

Keith Murray, director, said: “We are excited by this next chapter in the Cockburns of Leith story, building on a 200-year heritage of excellence and conviviality as we seek to supply the very best of global wine and spirits to our customers.

“While online sales continue to grow, and are an important part of the modern Cockburns of Leith business, we also believe in the power of retail. That is why we have decided to open our first bottle shop.

“Customers are keener than ever to experience the brands they purchase first hand – by seeing and tasting them in store or hearing the history for themselves.

“Be it the worker who wants to pick up a bottle on their way home from the office, someone who prefers to browse the labels and hold the bottle in their hands before they buy, or a newer wine drinker who needs a little guidance – the best way we can serve these customers is through a physical shop.”

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