Published in Feast issue 39 – September 2019
Who are you and what do you do?
We are VanVino – a mobile bar hire and tasting company. We specialise in providing a bespoke, premium bar hire service for weddings, parties, corporate hire and celebrations. We also provide gin, wine and rum tasting experiences as well as cocktail masterclasses.
Where are you based?
We are located just outside of Norwich and provide bars and tastings throughout Norfolk. We also travel further afield, having already provided bar hire and tastings in the likes of Cambridgeshire and Berkshire.
How did you get started?
Having worked in the electronics industry for 11 years, I felt the need for a change. I originally began offering just wine tastings, a love that arose from many a Sunday lunch discussing wine with my family. I progressed into offering gin and rum tastings and then mobile bar hire.
Why wine, gin and rum in particular?
Wine, gin and rum are much more than just drinks – they provide us with a rich offering of history, geography, art and politics. Enjoying carefully selected drinks, whilst learning, is great fun.
Is rum ever going to become the new gin, in your opinion?
No, rum does not have a popular pairing yet, ie gin has tonic. People are cutting down on their sugar intake; they are drinking far less rum and coke than they used to. Having said that, there are some great rums out there; people who have participated in our rum tastings are always pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of rums available.
Can you tell us about your tastings and what people can expect?
Our tastings are very social and engaging events. They are two hours in length and guests try unusual and unique drinks from all over the world. I believe in keeping the tastings relaxed yet informative; they cover production methods, different styles of alcohol and include anecdotes and interesting facts.
And what can you tell us about Ginny, your mobile bar?
I bought a neglected 1970s caravan and, in eight months, lovingly converted it into a mobile bar, which I aptly named ‘Ginny’. Ginny is unique, as the majority of vehicle bars tend to be horseboxes. Ginny is an eye-catching, creative bar, which adds style and originality to weddings and parties.
Where can we find you this autumn?
The majority of our bookings are private hire; we are booked up with weddings and parties – located in a variety of marquees, barns and stately homes. We also have a number of corporate tastings and hen party cocktail masterclasses in the calendar.
Any future plans?
We have many exciting plans! We expanded the bar range this summer – building another mobile bar as our demand for weddings is high. We are growing our keg hire business; we currently have two units that people can hire for parties. We would also like to host more of our private wine and dine evenings – guests can experience some of Norfolk’s finest produce paired with wonderful wines.
How has Proudly Norfolk been able to help you?
Proudly Norfolk has given us opportunities to meet with a variety of local food and drink businesses – gaining knowledge, as well as new suppliers and customers. We have met experts and shared experiences with members, which has helped us to successfully develop VanVino.