15/05/2007 - 22:00

Taylor-made for cafe culture

15/05/2007 - 22:00


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The brother and sister behind wine store-cum-cafe-cum-food-to-go concept, The Beaufort Street Merchant, are busy planning their second venture on the bustling Highgate strip.

Taylor-made for cafe culture

The brother and sister behind wine store-cum-cafe-cum-food-to-go concept, The Beaufort Street Merchant, are busy planning their second venture on the bustling Highgate strip.

Scott and Angie Taylor have bought the former adult bookshop directly opposite their wine store and coffee shop, and have decided to stick with the paperback business but change the genre.

The new store will be dedicated to cook books as well as selling a range of kitchenware.

Mr Taylor says the store will stock “funky” cookbooks while the kitchenware will include everything from pots and pans to truffle shavers.

Mr Taylor told Gusto while it will be similar to Amano in Cottesloe, he has taken inspiration from a shop in London’s Notting Hill called Books for Cooks.

“It [Books for Cooks] has every interesting, weird and wacky cookbook that is released from around the world,” Mr Taylor says.

The Taylors’ shop will be called Cook Book and will open in about four months’ time, following the renovation of the original store.

Meanwhile, Mr Taylor and his sister are further developing The Beaufort Street Merchant, which includes producing their own wine label, ramping up corporate wine tastings, and fine tuning their cafe, which was expanded about five months ago.

Mr Taylor says the decision to increase the area of the store devoted to the coffee shop has helped “bring the street in”.

“We want people to be involved with what we do and have some interaction; it’s a very European feel,” he says.

“We have a very interesting store but I think some people are intimidated by it because they’re not sure if it’s a gift store, a gourmet food to go place or somewhere to get wine.”

Mr Taylor says expansion of the premises’ cafe aspect provides a more casual ambience, with customers able to sit back and order a meal – most of which are available in the store’s food-to-go cabinet – or just relax with a coffee and take it all in.

Mr Taylor and Ms Taylor will released two wine labels in the coming months, which will be sold in-store, on restaurant and cafe wine lists, and at other independent bottle shops.

The two labels to be released will service different ends of the market, with one a “funky, cafe style” label and the other a more serious offering.

The wine labels are an extension of the couple’s work in the cleanskin market, which grew significantly in the past couple of years as the wine industry struggled under the weight of an oversupply of grapes.

The pair has been retailing a range of cleanskins under the Naked Bottle brand since the store opened about 18 months ago.

“It’s not a super cheap product that we have; we use WA stock because we are parochial and we only choose wines that we believe in,” Mr Taylor says.

He says while the cheapest bottle on The Beaufort Street Merchant’s shelves is $5, the average bottle sold in-store is $11. But the same bottle would retail upwards of $18 under the producer’s own label.

Mr Taylor and Ms Taylor have also produced private label wines for about 20 restaurant operators, including The Botanical Café at Kings Park and Sienna’s.

The pair sources cleanskin wines, consults with a restaurateur about the brand they are trying to create, and then contracts a designer to deliver a wine label.

“We’re not about providing cheap house wine with a cheap label on it,” Mr Taylor says.

“It’s about getting great wine, personalising it and at a price that provides value.”

However, this year’s vintage was smaller than usual and there are predictions from several industry players that the cleanskin market will dry up in the next year or two.

Mr Taylor says he has signed five- to 10-year contracts with several wine suppliers to guarantee he will have stock for his two wine labels, which are yet to be named publicly.

He plans to sell 14,000 bottles between the two brands in the next year.


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