Whisky Galore is New Zealand’s premier supplier of single malts and scotch blended whiskies. Michael Fraser-Milne tells the story of how they came about, and how Maiden Group helped bring their vision to life.
Watch the video now or read the story below…
Michael Fraser-Milne started Whisky Galore as a hobby. He was bringing whisky over for friends, and then it got a bit out of hand. Eventually, together with his wife, they opened a shop, and the rest was history.
After the earthquakes, Whisky Galore moved somewhere temporary for four years. As things recovered in Christchurch, new building leases started to pop up, and it was time to find a more suitable place. Michael Milne, owner of Whisky Galore gives us background of how Maiden Group came into the picture.
“The question was how were we going to fit-out our whisky shop? One thing I wanted was a company that had everything in-house. My previous experience was, the plumber would do his bit, then the plasterer wouldn’t be able to come in for a week, the plumber and builder wouldn’t gel – and it would turn into a very negative experience for me.
“When I heard Maiden Group had the builder, plumber, electrician, painters and project managers, all from the same team. That was very attractive. We talked, and it quickly became apparent there wouldn’t be a problem creating our ideal whisky shop, and for them to just get on with it.”
With plans underway, and Maiden Group on board to fit-out the new shop. Michael explains how everything went.
“We didn’t have a firm plan on what we wanted. The Maiden team were very flexible with this. Originally, the woodwork around the place was going to be MDF board. Very quickly, we established this was not going to work, and we looked for something different. It was the same with the wallpaper. We had a few issues, and the painter sorted it out very quickly. The doors were not fitting properly. Maiden took them away to the workshop and fixed them. The one thing I like about Maiden Group is they are flexible and fix things.
“Maiden Group and Whisky Galore have a similar ethos. We are both a family company and this becomes apparent when you are working with the Maiden team. The plasterers, builders, electricians all work together as a family. They were always a phone call away from getting it sorted – there were no obstacles.”
With the fit-out complete. It was time to showcase some of the finest whiskies, and help newcomers to whisky connoisseurs find the “Dram of their dreams”. Michael reflects on the shops success so far.
“For us, it’s the opportunity for people to see what whisky is all about. The fit-out has made it for us – the Howff room helps set the scene for our whisky tastings, and creates a real Scottish experience for our customers.
“It’s all about having a good time. For us, that’s what Whisky Galore is all about. One of the nice things is we have a diverse range of clients. We meet everybody, from every walk of life. We have the brain surgeon, barista, local baker and tradie all sitting at the same table. All having a great time and enjoying a dram – that’s what success looks like for us.”
Plans for the Future
“We are still digging in here and establishing ourselves. Immediate plans are to finish what we started. There are a few tweaks we want to do. We will get the shop as perfect as we can. Every two years we have DramFest which is held in February and March. About 15 whisky experts come over from overseas, and it’s a unique opportunity to meet those involved in the creation, promotion and selection of some of the best whiskies on offer. It takes a year to plan it, and we’re doing that now.”
If you are looking for a fit-out, give us a call. We’d love to find out about your business, and see where we can help.