We caught up with the new manager of our specialist liquor store in Shoreditch, Jake Rogers, on a rare 10-minute break to chat about what we look for when we stock our shelves, as well as some of his favourite bottle picks..
So for those who don’t know you, introduce yourself and tell us what your role is within the company?
I’ve been working for TT right from the start, really. I helped open up the bottle shop, doing a lot of the behind-the-scenes organisation for the stock we were going to buy, talking to different suppliers, and stuff like that. Until about 3 or 4 months ago I was the bar manager down in the Cellar Bar, and I’ve recently moved into the events team. I’m also in charge of stock management for the shop. It’s quite varied role but good fun nonetheless.
You mentioned you’ve been here for a few years, which means you’ve been working alongside Steve and Ali for quite some time. How did that all come about initially?
I’ve known Steve and Ali for several years, having worked with them at venues around London. Then, a couple of years ago, I had a bit of an accident where I managed to break my leg climbing into my own house. This meant I obviously couldn’t work behind the bar any more. But the guys very kindly helped me out, finding me a different role within the company, which was a bit of a godsend. So from that, because I was pretty immobile, I started working on the TT Liquor project, working on the admin stuff needed to get the shop off the ground.
“Some of the most gift-able items we have in stock are definitely whiskies. The biggest selling bottle across the shop is probably Nikka From the Barrel. It’s an excellent introduction to Japanese whisky.”
You mentioned briefly your main focus nowadays being the procurement of alcohol for the shop. Where are you looking to take that over the next few months? What’s the driving idea about what ends up on the shelves?
The beauty of TT Liquor is that all the alcohol that ends up in she shop is selected by the staff who work here. Brands have very little input. If we like a product, if we think it’s cool, if we think it’s going to sell, then we stock it. We’re obviously quite a small company at the moment so we can’t take on every single product. So part of my role is to separate the wheat from the chaff, if you like, and fill up the shelves with quality products which slowly but surely we’re doing. We try and have a selection of everything, so if you walk in looking for something quite specific we’ll usually have it. But I’d say that’s definitely one of the fun aspects of my job, getting to pick what ends up in the shop.
Speaking of the shelves, could you give me some of your top recommendations from the wares on show?
Some of the most gift-able items we have in stock are definitely whiskies. The biggest selling bottle across the shop is probably Nikka From the Barrel. It’s an excellent introduction to Japanese whisky. The price is also very reasonable at just below £40, and around Christmas time we’re selling dozens of these per week, so it’s super popular. It’s definitely up there as one of my top picks.
Another of my personal favourites in the whiskey category would be the Redbreast range. It’s an exceptional pure pot-still Irish whiskey with a lovely Sherry finish. Each expression of the range – the 12 year old, 15 year old, and 21 year old – all gave different characteristics, but they’re all really, really great whiskies.
Other big sellers aside from the whiskies are definitely the gins – since we’re in somewhat of a ‘ginaissance’ recently. If I could choose one gin that I definitely recommend it would be Death’s Door. It hails from Wisconsin in the States, and at 47% ABV you know you’re drinking gin when you drink it! It also bucks the current trend of throwing a bunch of weird and wonderful botanicals in, having just three – juniper, coriander and fennel. That’s it, no nonsense. Plus it’s called Death’s Door.. which is pretty cool I feel.