Two booze lovers on a mission to make buying local beer and whisky easier have opened a craft alcohol shop in a refurbished shipping container.
Andy Christie, 34, and Bryan Gray, 40, run Devenick Drinks from the Boxes @ Chapelton scheme just outside Chapelton of Elsick.
The shop opened on December 1 as a retail outlet for the Devenick Drinks website that Andy and Bryan started up during the Covid lockdown.
After building a loyal online following by selling hard-to-find Scottish-made beer and whisky, the duo decided to set up shop in the Chapelton boxes, which hosts retail units in colourfully redesigned shipping containers.
The plan is to offer a bigger stage to local brewers and distillers, who often find it tough to get on supermarket and off-license shelves.
“We are champions of local and Scottish craft hops, beans and spirits,” says Andy. “We see ourselves as helping get the product from the concept onto the shelf.”
Like kids in a candy store
The Chapelton shop is an Aladdin’s cave of beer and spirits – plus coffee beans – from across Scotland, and speciality brands from north-east craft brewers and distillers.
In fact, Andy says the choice is so vast – and different to the usual supermarket selection – that people are like kids in a candy store when they walk in.
“You almost get that childhood experience,” he explains. “You are overloaded with colors and quantity – it’s such a visual thing.”
The Aberdonian highlights an Iron Brew beer from Edinburgh brewer Vault City that has a similar colour scheme to Scotland’s other national drink.
“There’s definitely a nostalgic aspect here and a lot of people come in and just go, oh, wow,” he says.
What beers and spirits can you buy from Devenick Drinks?
Devenick specialises in niche brands – “That’s kind of our thing,” says Andy.
There are beers from Aberdeen, Peterhead, Stonehaven, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Loch Lomond and Oban as well as a few from the Cromarty area.
It’s also got gins from the Cairngorms, the Isle of Bute and Ellon, rums from Aberdeen and a swathe of new and emerging Scotch whiskies.
Devenick Drinks even has its own beer – a collaboration with Stonehaven’s Reids Gold Brewing that comes in at a hefty 7.2% abv.
“It sneaks up on you,” admits Andy.
Another highlight is a tasty honeyberry gin that Andy describes as “alcoholic Ribena”.
Roehill Springs Distillery, a husband and wife team in Keith, are behind the gin, which is one of Devenick’s top sellers.
Building a community for Devenick Drinks in Chapelton
Andy runs Devenick Drinks while also working full-time as a business development manager for an offshore services company.
Bryan works another job, too, so the shop is only open from Thursday through to Sunday.
But the duo have created a solid community of alcohol fans at the store, and on weekends people come from far and wide to pick up new supplies.
The feel-good atmosphere at the Boxes @ Chapelton also helps, Andy says.
The project houses an intriguing range of businesses including bake shop Fits the Scoop, zero-waste store Replenish and natural pet care products outlet Stinky Beasties.
Andy says: “Everyone’s been super positive, and that’s right across demographics. We’ve had young people, we’ve have had old people, we’ve had middle aged people – everyone has been consistent in their welcoming nature.”
Meanwhile, Andy is pleased he can help nurture Scotland’s craft booze makers by giving them ample room on his shelves.
“That allows them to keep chugging away and do what they do best, which is making the product,” he says.
Devenick Drinks is open from Thursday to Sunday at Unit 4, The Boxes @ Chapelton, Greenlaw Rd, Chapelton of Elsick, AB39 8BA. Online orders can be made from the company’s website.