Shop Local: Royston wine merchants goes from ‘doom to Zoom’

In House Tasting founders Lisa Pilgrim (left) and Kirby Bryant (right), who exanded the business from Cambridge Wines in Roy...

In House Tasting founders Lisa Pilgrim (left) and Kirby Bryant (right), who exanded the business from Cambridge Wines in Royston. Picture: In House Tasting - Credit: Archant

A Royston wine merchants has gone from ‘doom to Zoom’ after expanding to offer virtual wine tastings for people to enjoy from home.

The gin-tasting kit offered by In House Trading, which expanded from Cambridge Wines Royston. Picture: In House Tasting

The gin-tasting kit offered by In House Trading, which expanded from Cambridge Wines Royston. Picture: In House Tasting - Credit: Archant

Cambridge Wine Royston in Kneesworth Street has been selling wine for the past 15 years, and founded a new business so they could continue trading safely in the pandemic.

Co-founder Kirby Bryant was struck by the demand for home delivery and helped the business go from a traditional wine merchant to a national company providing virtual video tastings.

Kirby said: “Like many other independent UK businesses COVID-19 literally shut the front door to our trade. We adapted by going online and we retained our position as a local business by personally delivering products to our customers.

“Tastings are something we host regularly in our shop and during the first lockdown, we delivered kits and hosted our first virtual gin tasting. That’s when the idea of In House Tasting was born.”


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In House Tasting brings together experts on wine, gin, rum and craft beer to lead virtual, on-demand sessions, which allow anyone over the legal drinking age to take part from the comfort of their home.

After setting up an online ordering system and local delivery service, the company put its first virtual tasting kit on sale on March 31 this year, a week after lockdown was announced.

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Tasting experiences are made possible through home delivery of ‘tasting kits’, together with access to videos that can be played directly or via screen sharing to a party of people over Zoom.

Since it began, In House Tasting has provided employment to three people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Much of the company’s recent business has come from corporations seeking out virtual options for their staff Christmas party.

Kirby added: “Through the combination of a physical gift and on-demand video, we’re giving people an opportunity to physically enjoy something together this Christmas, even if they are not physically in the same room.

“Having drinks and a shared physical experience helps people relax, connect and engage, so a tasting is ideal entertainment for a virtual party.”

Tasting kits can be ordered directly from https://inhousetasting.com.

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