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Dublin, Ireland
Hi, I'm Dermot Nolan, and I became a Master of Wine (MW) in 1997, and resigned from the Institute of Masters of Wine in 2023 after being an MW for exactly 26 years. I opened a wine shop in DĂșn Laoghaire, Ireland, called The Wine Library, which closed in 2018, and this is my personal wine blog. I will do my utmost to be fair and responsible in my posts – please read my Who Pays article in re the ethics of wine trips and writing. I have worked in wine education, retail, and consultancy since 1990. I was a Director of the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) from 2008 to 2014 and was also a member of the Events Committee, founder of the Trips Committee, and member of the Governance Committee. Having had problems with potentially libellous comments from unidentifiable posters, I now require that if you post a comment, you must identify yourself properly or it won't be published. Please note that I do not review products or services on request so kindly don't ask. I value my independence and I believe my readers (few that they may be) do so also.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Oddbins RIP?

Well, the recession hits again - although, in the case of Oddbins, this is more a long-term illness drawing to a much desired, though fatal, end. The original Oddbins, set up by Nick Baile MW, was a real odd bins shop - they purchased odd lots of distressed stock and then retailed these to really wine literate customers.
After Oddbins was taken over by Seagram things changed however. While the friendly and knowledgeable staff remained, Seagram tried to use Oddbins as a vehicle for some of their brands. But it was the rapid expansion of the number of outlets which really did for Oddbins in the end. Like the South Sea bubble it seemed as though Oddbins were opening up shops just to generate enough revenue to keep existing shops open. When sold off to Castel in the early 2000s (Seagram had been trying to sell up for about 7 years) the range changed and the original ethos was lost.
Eventually, Simon Baile bought the business back from Castel but it appears that he and his partner paid more than they could afford and now, thanks to a debt to British Gas of £58 (!), the whole house of cards has come tumbling down.
Some of the shops may yet survive but there will be repercussions for many in the UK's wholesale trade as there are far larger debts out there. It is not clear as to what will happen to the Oddbins shops in Ireland (did you know that the Blanchardstown shop was the biggest Oddbins of them all, in terms of floor area?) nor whether Oddbins as a business will survive.

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