With most bricks and mortar shops currently closed for business because of coronavirus, some businesses have seen an encouraging increase in online orders. Some of NB's retail-based clients in Orkney and Shetland are among those seeing a happy uplift in e-commerce sales.
Jollys of Orkney
Family-run Jollys of Orkney supply fresh fish, meat and deli items to the people of Orkney at their main shop in Hatston and their Kirkwall deli, The Brig Larder. While their shops are still open for business, they're also encouraging locals to place orders by phone and online.
Home delivery items include fresh fish, quiches, Orkney cheeses, jams and chutneys, cheesecakes and a wide selection of ready meals, including gluten-free options, all made locally. Popular products online are Orkney fudge, smoked salmon and oatcakes. The Taste of Orkney Hamper has also been a hit, presumably with people sending them to loved ones who are in isolation.
For up to date information, follow the Jollys of Orkney Facebook page.
With pubs, restaurants and clubs closed, breweries and off-licences are finding that more and more people are ordering their alcohol online. Many seeking out craft ales and spirits that aren't always stocked on online supermarket shelves.
Swannay Brewery on the northwesterly tip of Orkney’s mainland produce craft Orcadian beers and ship them across the UK. Despite losing all of their draft business (the beer they sell to pubs, hotels and restaurants), which makes up half of their normal annual sales, the business is managing to recoup some of their losses by selling online. And it's paying off; 30th March saw the company's busiest day ever for website dispatches with over 100 boxes.
Top products have been Scapa Special, Orkney IPA and Island Hoping, while another popular item is the "Peedie Taster Box", offering a selection of beers, a bar blade bottle opener, bar runner and pint glass – so that you can set up your own Swannay Home Bar.
Another alcohol brand that's seen an uplift in online sales is Shetland Reel, which produce gin distilled on the UK's most northerly island, Unst. Like Swannay Brewery, much of their normal trade comes from bars and restaurants, so to meet the sales shortfall they're encouraging folk to buy online.
This includes promoting their limited edition Hubbelskyu (dialect for Uproar) gin. Originally due to launch to tie in with the 40th Shetland Folk Festival (which, like most other events, has sadly been cancelled), the distillery has produced 500 bottles of the spirit. Donations of £1 per bottle sold will go directly towards the Shetland Folk Festival Committee.
As well as Hubbelskyu, Shetland Reel stock three signature gins and more special editions. Fans looking to pep up the weekends with a tipple or two can also check out the range of Peerie Cocktails online.
Like other distillers across the country, Shetland Reel are in the process of producing a batch of hand sanitisers using denatured alcohol.
Gin fans will be pleased to hear that the online shop is still very much open though, with free shipping across the UK. For those new to Kirkjuvagr gin, the Fjórir Gift Set is a popular choice, as it offers a quartet of the brand's best-selling bottles to sample.