Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Looking Back, Forging Ahead Q&A: Phil Innes, Loki Wines

Published:  12 December, 2022

Following another turbulent year for the drinks trade, Phil Innes, founder and MD of Loki Wines, reflects on the highs and lows of 2022, plus the hopes and plans for the business in the year ahead.

How has business been for you across 2022 when compared with 2019?  

I would be lying if I said this wasn’t one of the toughest years we have had for the business. It is a strange feeling as turnover we are tracking 20% up in our two stores that were open before Covid, and we have more than doubled the turnover of the business since 2019, however, due to overhead pressures we are still feeling profitability being squeezed. 

What, for you, were the specific highs of 2022?  

Getting the warehouse up and running was a great high, and we are seeing online sales really buoyant; taking some distribution pressures off the stores so they can focus purely on customer experience. 

And the lows?  

Getting my first electricity bill after my fixed rate expired! 

More specifically, how has the cost-of-living crisis impacted and what as a business have you done to help mitigate the effects for you and your customers?   

There are huge pressures on this front, with electricity prices having a negative effect on margins. There are only so many costs we can pass onto customers, and the rest must go towards the margin. We have tried to use cost savings, however, most of the things such as energy saving, we had already implemented leaving us with very few tools to work with. 

How much of a concern is the proposed change to the duty regime?  

You can clearly see that the government doesn't have a grasp of how businesses function. Extra red tape is absolutely not what the business needs at the moment. 

In terms of the product itself and drinking occasions, which current trends in the drinks world would you predict to continue to grow and why?  

Alcohol-free is the category for 2023, we have seen huge growth already and I think this is only going to increase as more quality alcohol-free products come on the market. I still think we are going to see a good increase in English sparkling sales, as upward pressure on Champagne prices continues to make English sparkling seem incredible value for money. 

As a business, what goals have you set for 2023 and how do you expect to achieve them?  

We have set very modest goals for 2023 where we want to make sure we are continuing to be profitable, whilst also supporting our staff through the cost of living, and focusing on the quality of service which I believe will keep people coming back regardless of the economic situation. 

More generally, in terms of business, how do you predict the drinks landscape will look this time next year?   

I think we will see a number of businesses failing next year, especially in the restaurant and bar side of the industry, this is, unfortunately, a consequence of huge increases in overheads which are making businesses unsustainable. However, on a positive note, I do think strong businesses will continue to thrive as people search for quality places to spend their money.  

Quick fire questions:  

Champagne or English sparkling?


Cocktail or straight spirit?  

Straight Spirit 

Riesling or Chardonnay?


Pinot Noir or Bordeaux-style blend?


Michelin-starred or relaxed bistro? 

Relaxed Bistro 

Desert island tipple?