Furloughed Manchester bartenders launch lockdown cocktail club

The three bartenders set up a cocktail delivery business to help pay the rent - and have sold out every weekend since

James O’Neill, Cat Hallas and Ian James are all regular faces on the wrong side of some of Manchester’s best-known bars and restaurants.

Having been furloughed, the trio set up an online business specialising in at home cocktail kits – and they’re selling out in advance of each and every weekend. 

They were quick to spot a gap in the market, and focused all their efforts on the user experience.

In addition to five cocktails, shakers, stirrers, and measures (this isn’t your premixed-in-a-bag kind of affair), the carefully crafted experience is designed to take drinkers on a journey “through the year we lost”.

Customers get private access to a 40-minute video masterclass taking you through how to serve each drink. 

And they have figured out how to make it all work via Zoom to bring friends, family and colleagues who may be working from home all together as if they were in the same room.

“Overnight we found ourselves three high and dry bar tenders stuck on furlough,” says James.

“We had no idea if or when our industry would ever return.

“Money was tight and we were struggling to  pay the rent. I knew we had to do something.  

“What started as a small Zoom cocktail party between friends to keep our spirits high, quickly spiralled out of control.

“We realised we’d stumbled upon something pretty special – and that we could invite other people, too.

“We had a simple plan to spread some joy in lockdown by bringing a world-class cocktail experience into people’s homes. 

“Lockdown Cocktail Club was born from a place of desperation, and with a hope for a brighter future.

“Our success will be measured by how many people we can make smile!

“Your support means the world to us. It’s literally been paying the rent.”

So what are the three musketeers, as they call themselves, going to do after lockdown?

Well, the trio have got a plan which has already started to attract some interest.

“We are keen to get our premixed cocktails into hotel minibars and available on-board airplanes,” says James.

Watch this space.

Find out more about Lockdown Cocktail Club at lockdowncocktailclub.com


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