The following may confuse you. This time we are not talking about one shop, but actually two, or is it three? We are not talking about one passionate owner, but three plus one or two others- sorry for the confusion, hopefully all will become clear. What I am talking about is one company, Luvians and in particular one man, Vinceson – Vince to his friends – Fisaro. What hasn’t changed over previous articles about the independent sector, is that very word, independent. Luvians and in particular Vince is very independent. Very independent indeed.
Where to start, how about first impressions? The first shop to be opened and still the hub of Luvians operation is the shop in Cupar. Cupar is a nice small market town of about 9000 people bang in the middle of Fife. Fife? Fife is the peninsula between Edinburgh to the south and Dundee in the north. If you want to go to St. Andrews for golf or education you go through Cupar. It is a very pleasant, but unremarkable town. So why has it got such a fantastic shop as Luvians? Entering Luvians is an assault on the senses. Seemingly everything in the world that is good and desirable is here. In one corner there is olive oil, really good olive oil. In one corner there are two deli counters crammed with things which scream ‘Eat me’. Then there is the wine, not just Italian but French, Spanish and a full offering from the New Word. Did I mention the Ice Cream yet? Oh, the Ice Cream. Finally there is the long wall on the right of the shop. This is the Whisky side of the shop. Lots and lots of Whisky. Typically there is never any doubt of the things that Vince likes. Speyside is very mu ch to the fore, special bottling of Glenfarclas and big displays from Balvenie and Macallan leave you in no doubt of the house favourites.
The shop has grown organically to what it is today from more humble beginnings when it first opened on Christmas Eve 1983. Why sell what they do? Well what else would you sell? The family is originally from Italy; with a name like Fisaro you could guess that, so Vince and his brothers already had the knowledge and passion about good wine and food (Don’t forget the ice cream!!) But the other thing that you can’t forget after a minute in Vince’s company that they are passionate Scots, so Whisky has always vital too!
The one theme that has run throughout the past 27 odd years is the philosophy is to be different from the crowd. They quickly realised that there was no point in being ordinary because there were others out there who were a lot better at it, so they have to be out-of-the-ordinary. As you may have gathered Vince and Luvians are nothing like ordinary.
Could Luvians be improved?Only if they started selling Ferraris and Ducatis as well!
At the outset I mentioned two shops not one. The outer stronghold of the Luvians Empire is in St. Andrews, the handsome and comfortable seat of academia and golf, 10 miles to the east. The nice thing about St. Andrews as a location is that you are guaranteed a steady supply of suitable drinkers. Students and golfers, perfect. The shop, which has been a feature of Market Street, almost opposite the Central since 1996, is quite different from the shop in Cupar, it’s a bottle shop, as such, its not that remarkable. Inside it feels a lot like a branch of Oddbins, the real pre-Seagrams Oddbins. The staff, led by the substantial figure of Peter, are just like the staff from the halcyon days of Oddbins. All seemingly young enough to be skipping lectures, brimming with a puppy like enthusiasm for everything they sell, eager for their customers to try, to buy, to share the love. This level of contagious enthusiasm leads to great customer loyalty, amongst Monarchs-to-be and aspiring Tigers alike. Like good evangelists Peter and his team spread the delights of Whisky by holding regular tastings in the shop and also at the University itself. For themselves the current flavour of the moment is Springbank 15, but then Springbank has always been popular, the last time I visited they made me try a magnificent Springbank bottled to commemorate the 2010 Open.
93 Bonnygate, Cupar KY15 4LGTel:
01334 654820Opening Hours:
Mon - Sat 9am-5pm, Sunday 10am - 4pm
66 Market Street, St Andrews KY16 9NUTel:
01334 477752Opening Hours:
Mon - Sat 10am-10pm, Sunday 1pm - 10pmWeb: www.luvians.com