Say cheers to luxurious indulgence

LIVING IN THE KITCHEN

Say cheers to luxurious indulgence

The range of international and Indian brands and size variants is so extensive that it can confuse even a seasoned tippler.

Lined with shelves stocked up to the gills with an array of choice liquors, liqueurs and fine wines from all over the world, Drops Total Spirits (DTS) is a one-stop superstore that takes the whole experience of liquor shopping to the next level.

Buying a bottle at the so-called “wine shops” and the liquor section at select supermarkets is usually a dry, over-the-counter transaction and DTS fills the gap in this niche segment with its organised store designed to make liquor shopping a pleasurable experience, especially for the connoisseur. Those passionate about their tipple can browse at leisure to look, see, touch and feel the wide range before adding it to their carts. “A customer ends up spending at least 20 to 30 minutes just browsing here,” affirms Manoj Venkatswamy, Managing Director of DTS whose mission it is to help the discerning client make an informed choice.

The ambience of this air-conditioned store in Indiranagar is particularly inviting to women who love their spirits but won’t be seen dead at a local liquor store! Women form about 25 to 30 per cent of the clientele, the bulk of who purchase wines for consumption as well as cooking purposes, Venkatswamy says. DTS witnesses maximum footfalls between 6 and 10 pm through the week and meets the volume requirements of parties and restaurants.

The range of international and Indian brands and size variants is so extensive that it can confuse even a seasoned tippler, which is why the store has in-house trained staff to guide buyers.

The wine section is impressive, boasting 350 labels from 16 countries, including isolated Argentina’s malbec.

Leader of the pack with its prominent display in the beer section is Bangalore’s very own mover and shaker Kingfisher, whose 5-litre keg, readily available here, makes for a sensible buy for big parties. Not surprisingly, the brand accounts for 70 per cent of the store’s beer sales. The scoundrel of the pack, however, is ‘Rogue’ the world’s bitterest beer which with its fine aftertaste nevertheless holds its own alongside Italians, Belgians, Mexicans and other imports including Asahi from Japan. At DTS there are over a 1,000 beers in stock.

The selection of high-end white and brown spirits — vodkas, gins, rums, exclusive single malts, blended scotches, bourbons and cognacs — is truly amazing. If Absolut or Stolichnaya are your favourites, what’s to stop you from trying out a Vluvka or a Roberto Cavalli for sheer indulgence?

Sitting pretty on the brown spirits shelf is an amber-coloured King George V, whose luxury price tag of Rs 77,696 is irrelevant for someone looking for lavishness in gifting. If that’s hard to believe, well, three of these prized bottles have flown off the shelf in as many weeks. “They were bought for gifting purposes by high profile clients whose identity cannot be disclosed,” says Venkatswamy, divulging plans to add labels costing up to Rs 4 lakh to the range of exclusives.

Looking for a perfect gift or to pop some champagne for that special, celebratory occasion? There's Moet poised invitingly to be picked up.

The store stocks a range of bar accessories and fancy glassware, with plans to add fine crystal too to the range. A variety of mixers and modifiers are also available as well as a few rows of crisps and other nibbles. A dedicated tobacco section is another unique feature, soon to be upgraded with fine tobaccos.

Venkatswamy is brewing ideas to enhance the uniqueness of the store. Soon it will feature a compact library of books relating to spirits, how they originated, their manufacturing processes and their manner of serving and drinking. There will be LCDs on wines in order to educate and inform interested clients. “There is a misconception among some that white wines are made only from rice and that a rosé is made from rose petals,” says Venkatswamy who wants to dispel such notions. DTS also hosts wine- tasting sessions, soon to be followed up with ones on wine and food pairing and the opening of a cheese counter. His only lament is that 4150 sft of space is too small to accommodate all of his grand plans. 

DTS offers a door delivery service for a minimum order worth Rs.500.
High on the initial response, the company plans to open similar format superstores in Bangalore by the end of next month. Among the places identified for the expansion are Kammannahalli, Koramangala, HSR Layout, Malleswaram, Sadashivnagar, Rajajinagar and Jeevanbimanagar. Plans are also afoot to expand to cities within Karnataka such as Mysore, Hubli, Dharwad and Bellary within the next six months and in States like Goa and Maharashtra.

The large collection notwithstanding, it was a trifle disappointing not to find that delightful Brazilian spirit, cachaca and some favourite labels of reds and whites. Also missing was angostura bitters. Apparently this is due to import restrictions that make the end prices too prohibitive. In other words, one cannot altogether rule out dependence on sources such as duty-free and obliging friends and relatives visiting from abroad. While prices are displayed selectively, pricing of all brands and variants needs to be shown across the shelves to enable a consumer determine the wallet factor at a glance.
All in all it’s a fine store with something to take back without really corroding the lining of your pocket.

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