Gin bar serves up successful Christmas

40 St Pauls, a boutique gin bar in Birmingham, had its most successful Christmas period yet as it generates a 60% uplift in year-on-year sales.

The bar stocks over 140 different gins from around the world, and in the lead up to Christmas launched a new festive-themed drink, a hot chocolate gin and tonic, as a nod to merry season.

Based in Cox St. in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter, the owners of 40 St Pauls generated further revenue from private hire corporate and family events held at their premises – with almost every day in December booked up.

The demand for private hire corporate and family events has seen revenue from its events arm grow from 5 per cent to more than 30 per cent over the festive period.

First-time business owner, Amanjot Johl opened the bar in December 2015, after noticing trendy gin was becoming increasingly popular in the local area but that no other bars in Birmingham were specialising in showcasing the drink.

After spending 10 years as a bar manager in Birmingham, Amanjot had dreamt of running his own establishment, and he even prepared a business plan for his very own bar. That meant that as soon as he spotted a gap in the market, he was ready to put his plans into action.

As a former bar manager with a wealth of experience in the drinks industry, Amanjot knew he wanted to create a luxurious, relaxing and intimate environment with table service, with a tailored gin menu for his customers.

To help put his plans into place, the budding businessman secured a £25,000 loan from the government-backed Start Up Loans Company, which enabled him to transform a former convenience store into 40 St Pauls. It took 3 months to transform, including the installation of a custom-built bar and fittings.

The business’ expansive gin menu, which took Amanjot six months to prepare, was recently named the best in the UK at the Imbibe Drinks List of the Year 2017.

The award win led to a 300% rise in bookings inquiries within a week and Amanjot is looking forward to growing the bar’s local customer base even more by continuing to offer a gin-tastic experience for visitors.

Amanjot Johl, Founder of 40 St Paul’s, said: “The festive period is such an important time for us, so we’re really pleased we’ve been able to reach more customers through corporate events and try out new, special flavours! We’ve seen a huge increase in corporate bookings over the last year, and that momentum contributed to our best December sales period yet.

“Having worked in the bar industry, I know you need to be proactive and offer customers something different – our hot chocolate gin and tonic is exactly that and that’s why it’s been such a crowd pleaser over the festive season. The vital funding and support from The Start Up Loans Company gave me the opportunity to turn 40 St Paul’s into a great bar, for all of Birmingham to enjoy and the chance for me to become a true entrepreneur.”

Joanna Hill, Interim CEO at The Start Up Loans Company, said: “Amanjot has been able to use his previous career experience to spot an emerging trend in the drinks industry – and create a thriving business out of it. It’s a fantastic skill to have and his hard work has turned 40 St Paul’s into an exciting gin bar with a loyal customer following.

“It’s fantastic to see how successful the Christmas period has been for the team. Business owners are too often held back because of a lack of funding, but that’s why we provide low-interest finance and mentoring support. We want everyone to be able to give their business idea a go, and contribute to the UK’s growing start-up economy.”