My Week: Nick Wall of Tails

The cocktail maker on appearing on telly, expanding abroad and why he doesn't drink as much as people might expect...

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
I’m generally up early, because I travel a lot. Most weeks, I either head up to Birmingham from my house in the middle of the Cotswolds, or I go down to London. I usually get up before 7am and I’m in my car by half past - so I’m either at a meeting or at my desk by eight thirty or nine o’clock.

This week began rather extraordinarily: the BBC brought a production team up to our business in Birmingham. I was talking about my frustrations that Tails, the ready-made cocktail company I own, has had an incredible first year of trading - we’re in Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Heal’s, Ocado, and last week I signed an agreement with House of Fraser. But despite the fact that we’ve had such a great first year, the UK’s banks won’t lend us money.

It chimed in completely with the Government and quantitative easing - so I and I appeared live on BBC Breakfast news, followed by slots on the six o’clock and the 10 o’clock national news, just after Mervyn King talking about the economy. The funny thing was that I have a friend who had just set off on a trip around the world. He was in Singapore airport, and my face popped up on the news. So it’s incredible exposure.

The rest of the week will be fairly busy - I’ve got a meeting tomorrow afternoon with a company to discuss the potential distribution of Tails in South-East Asia and North America. The pre-mixed cocktail market is actually fairly juvenile, but it’s got huge growth potential, and having had 12 months’ successful trading, we’re in a position now to enter foreign markets. Which is very exciting.

The other thing we’re up to at the moment is developing our fourth cocktail flavour. We’re constantly being asked by our customers, 'are there more flavours coming?' So tonight, I’ll be doing what I call ‘research’ - I’ll be making cocktails to try and perfect the recipe. I haven’t told anyone what it is yet - but suffice it to say that gin is very much on the way up. If I tell you anything else, though, you’ll guess what it is...

The next stage is then to take the finished recipe to various consultants, who will comment on the ingredients, and then I’ll work with my distillers and what they call beverage solution companies, to perfect the commercial version of the cocktail.

At the end of the day, I’m usually back home by 7pm. I don’t go out that much - I probably drink a lot less than people might think. Usually, my evenings are a bit boring, really - I’ll go running with my puppy, Kite; then eat, watch the news and go to bed. Well - with such a busy schedule, I can’t afford to be hungover too often...

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