French connections built up during summer holidays spent in the wine regions of France have inspired a Melrose butcher to bid to offer booze to go with his bangers.
Former farmer Martin Baird has run his self-named shop in the town’s Market Square for the past 15 years, and he’s now decided to branch out by offering bottles of wine to customers to accompany their dinners.
Members of Scottish Borders Council’s Licensing Board will consider his application to sell alcohol at their meeting this Friday, December 14.
Martin says the bid is an effort to add spice to the business.
“You’ve got to spice things up a wee bit every now and then,” he said. “I just want to sell good French and Italian reds and whites at a reasonable price to go along with the lamb or beef or whatever.
“We’ve got a wee bit of space in the shop, and I go to France every year on holiday and I know a few people down there in a wine-growing region and I thought we could maybe do something.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and we will be able to recommend a wine that will go with the meats our customers buy.
“We’ll have a bit of Prosecco and some flavoured vodka from a pal I know in the Lothians, but it’s mainly going to be reds and whites and a wine of the month.
“It’s going to be quality stuff at a reasonable price.”
Martin took over the premises, now employing seven staff, in 2003.
Prior to that, it had been Ian Rout Butcher’s for many years.
He added: “It’s been a butcher’s for over 100 years. I hadn’t been in the trade. I had been a farmer before and then in the potato trade.
“I got to know that the business was up for sale and, after a year of negotiations, I managed to buy it.
“It’s been a learning curve, but I have recruited well and have very good staff, which makes it a lot easier.
“This new venture is the latest challenge.”