Bottles of beer as far as the eye can see, 50 varieties of gin, wine, champagne… pallets and pallets of alcohol worth £2 million.
Then there’s the snacks – thousands of boxes of crisps, nuts and sweets.
What might sound like a lockdown stockpiling fantasy has become a business nightmare for a Fife firm.
Allson Wholesale, of Glenrothes, is Scotland’s largest independent on-trade wholesalers, with more than 3,000 pubs and hotels among its customers.
But lockdown meant the thriving family business’ demand went to zero overnight.
Initially managing director Colin Drysdale thought the firm’s predicament might last a handful of weeks – painful, but manageable when the business is haemorrhaging £16,000 a week before wage costs.
But as lockdown has continued, he admits the impact has been totally devastating. The firm, which had a workforce of 75, has had to lay off 15 staff and furlough scores of others.
“It’s been a triple whammy for us – not only is it the loss of business, we are facing bad debts and have had no access to grants or rates relief,” Mr Drysdale said.
“Every week that goes by costs us another £16,000, which you are prepared to do for a certain amount of time, but not knowing how long this process is going to be makes it difficult to budget for.
“As Nicola Sturgeon made clear last week, the hospitality trade looks like it will be the last industry to be opened up again properly and there is still no definitive day when that will be.
“Even when lockdown ends we don’t know what demand there will be. If pubs have to observe social distancing, their capacity goes right down.”
As every day ticks by, the mountain of precious stock creeps closer to its best before date.
It has led Allson to set up a direct to customer deliver service where it is selling the items more or less at cost price.
Every week the firm puts up offers on Facebook which have ranged from everything from boxes of 48 Mars bars to bottles of Bollinger champagne.
So far Drinks 2 Door has just operated in Fife but will expand to Dundee this week.
Mr Drysdale added: “It’s all about damage limitation. We are trying to turn as much of our stock into cash before it goes out of date.
“We’ve cleared a few thousand boxes of crisps, the next priority is the confectionary and beer.
“Because people are in lockdown they can’t get to the pub so they’re having to do their socialising in their family group or their garden so their domestic purchase of drinks has gone up.
“People have also been keen to support local businesses.”
Allson received a boost with news that the Government has allowed duty to be reclaimed on kegs, which makes up most of the price of beer.
At the time of lockdown Allson had 3,500 casks and kegs in stock which are now being collected by the breweries.
Drinks 2 Door can be found on Facebook by clicking here.
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