Fraserburgh’s Cheers Cafe, Bar and Tavern have had “phenomenal feedback” following the successful launch of their online cocktails and spirits store on Monday.
After announcing plans to reopen their beer garden in late April, further development of their site on Broad Street in Fraserburgh, and a successful launch of their new online cocktail and spirits store, there’s just no stopping the team at Cheers Cafe, Bar and Tavern.
Having only been able to open their “state-of-the-art” beer garden for one day last year before the second major lockdown kicked in, Cheers’ owner Dennis Forsyth is optimistic that the reopening will be just as popular this time around.
He says: “We’re really looking forward to getting the beer garden open. We opened it for one night only in December as that’s when we managed to get all the legislation through as we had to change to an occasional licence, but we went straight into lockdown the day after.
“The beer garden was really, really popular then ‘bang’ that was us closed. So we’re planning to open it again, properly, on Monday 26th April, which we already have bookings for.”
“It’s a state-of-the-art beer garden, with canopy covers, outdoor toilets, and an outdoor bar. There will still be table service and, as the rules are changing so frequently, we’ll be finding our way through it.
“We’re really excited for the beer garden opening. We’ve been working really hard over the last three or four months on different cocktail menus, we’ve changed all our beers and will have different ones on offer for reopening. So, it’s a big investment from us but we’re excited.”
Another big investment by the team was moving their popular own brand cocktails and spirits online so that customers and interested parties from across the UK could have the drinks delivered to their doorstep. The store, Cheers Spirits, was launched on Monday March 22.
Dennis continued: “The biggest investment of all was the online store which just went live on Monday. We didn’t want to promote it as we just launched it quietly to see how it works out.
“We introduced almost everything you see in that store in our bar last year and they were really well received. We knew they would be popular drinks and, in fact, we have even more than what’s there but we just thought we’d go for the ones that were most popular, and see how they take off.
“It was quite an investment for us trying to get things up and running as I designed everything, including the labels, the presentation, the pouches and what we were going to do. It was a lot of hard work but it’s been really well received and we’ve had phenomenal feedback. Everything’s been really positive.”
With the online store now up and running, the orders have been flying in, with customers in England among the first to make purchases.
Dennis said: “We can deliver our drinks to the whole of the UK. Hours after launching the site we’d already had orders from London and Birmingham, as well as Orkney and Shetland. It was a nightmare initially to ship to the Scottish Islands and we don’t have a delivery charge listed on the site for those places, but we say to anyone living there who wants some of our products to get in touch and we’ll sort it out over the phone.
“But everything is good to go and I think it’s going to end up doing really well. We have some supercharged Co2 bottles of lager which have been really popular – they are so powerful that if they accidentally fall on the ground they can explode. For that reason we can’t courier deliver them so these are still click and collect from our bar in Fraserburgh.
“In terms of the cocktails, we tried them out in the summer when people could come and collect them, that’s how we knew it would take off. It was so popular. We just wanted to do it in a professional kind of way, which we’ve done.”
Point of difference
After being open for 16 years and 28 national awards to the Cheers name, Dennis felt their emphasis on making their own spirits and cocktails has been part of what’s made the brand so popular.
He added: “Cheers has been an ongoing project since 2005. It was a dilapidated building that had just nothing going for it and had sadly closed down. We’ve just basically continued to invest in the property since then and we’ve won about 28 national awards for various things, but that all kind of slowed down in about 2016.
“We won one of VisitScotland’s awards for the friendliest bar in Scotland, then we got into the finals for the Scottish gin bar of the year as we have a lot of gins. We’ve also been a UK finalist for top spirit bar three times. So drinks and spirits, in particular, have been our thing and about three or four years ago we started making our own, instead of just selling others.
“We just had a point of difference that made us really original and that made us stand out. As we’d made the alcohol ourselves we were obviously able to cut the prices and we knew that people were asking for the spirits to take home and enjoy in their houses, so it was a natural progression to do the same as the cocktails.
“We did a lot of research before launching the online store and one of the things we noticed was that a lot of the cocktails already out there were really generic, like cosmopolitans and espresso martinis, and it’s still important to do those sorts of drinks. But we wanted to have a bit of fun.
“The key thing is that we’re giving customers everything and all they have to do is add ice. We even give them the food colourings to change the colour of the slush and to give the impact. We also give the slush straws as you don’t want to be sitting at home trying to sip a frozen daiquri without a proper straw. We’ve tried to include everything.”
The cocktails and premium spirits are available at cheers-spirits.com