Food & Drink

Published: June 6, 2022 | Updated: June 7, 2022

Liam’s business supplying locally produced drinks to hospitality sector goes down well

Liam Childs: “I aim to become the one stop shop for regional and local brands.” Picture: Dorset Biz News.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

The idea had been brewing in Liam Childs’ head for some time.

He had seen how some of his friends working in the hospitality sector had been badly affected during the pandemic.

And, as someone who liked to buy locally wherever possible, he also wanted to help local producers keen to sell their wares.

The result, after much research, is Locals Own – South West Drinks.

A Dorset-based business sourcing locally produced alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and supplying to hotels, restaurants, pubs and bars.

Liam, 37, who was born and educated in Bournemouth, established the limited company in 2021 but launched his new venture in earnest this year.

He now offers around 15 South West brands to his customers including Dorset names such as BH1 Gin, Bride Valley, Dorset Ginger, Dorset Nectar and Piddle Brewery.

The number is growing all the time.

He said: “It’s been really well-received, especially by producers who can sometimes struggle to get their brands to the attention of the hospitality trade.

“I aim to become the one stop shop for regional and local brands.

“I could see that all the venues are stuck with big brands supplying your normal kind of beverages.

“You get the same drinks everywhere you go.

“A venue would have to seek out local drinks themselves while the brand would have to do a lot of work to get around.

“From a customer perspective, I’ve had comments that it’s really nice that they have someone they can go to and make it really easy to tick the box that they supply local beverages instead of having to contact ten different suppliers.

“The business has started really nicely.

“These things take a bit of time and I’m not rushing it.

“I’m taking my time to learn as I go to find out what it is that customers want, what suppliers want and how best I can fill that gap.”

Liam, a trained electrician, worked on super yachts before starting his business.

He also offers bar design and installation as well as marketing support through a freelance designer and copywriter.

Apart from Dorset, Liam also supplies brands from Cornwall, Devon and part of Hampshire to his customers in Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch.

He said: “It’s fantastic fun to explore the different brands.

“It’s so exciting and I love learning about all the different ways gin or beer is made or wine is produced and fermented.

“There are so many interesting things you can learn.

“I’m always delighted for any producers to contact me as well as customers.

“In the future I’ll look at supplying the retail trade as well.

“It’s also my intention to employ people.

“There’s a lot of ground to cover and the business is pretty much all-consuming.

“It takes time to speak to people, negotiate deals, structure things, do deliveries, contact suppliers and keep on top of all the paperwork required.

“I’m pretty certain we’re unique in this area.”

Liam said his partner, Sophie, had been integral to the creation of Locals Own.

He said: “After many conversations around the kitchen table, Sophie was supportive and encouraging of my decision to focus on pursuing my dreams.

“It’s early days but I’m really encouraged at the way the business has been received.

“It’s going down very well.”