Advertising creatives often have interesting after-hours side projects, but we’d never heard of any running an off-licence before. Jean Grogan has the story behind The Paris Liquor Store (TPLS), founded by Thomas Barclay, an art director at Havas Worldwide Paris, and realised with the help of two admen colleagues.
Of course, given that it’s run by ad creatives, this is no run-of-the-mill offie. The Paris Liquor Store opened three months ago, close to the Opéra, the Bourse and the biggest French department stores, with many customers working or living in the area. It specialises in limited editions and collaborations with artists, such as this Hennessy Special Edition by Futura, promoted via special events in-store.
A feature of the shop are its blackboard walls, covered in chalk and Posca lettering and artwork created by copywriter Christophe Pilate and Didier Chan Kin, a Havas art director. Pilate also provides web content and social media activity.
Barclay sources the products, focusing on cult brands such as 12 year-old Japanese Hibiki whisky and Saint James Fleur de Canne rum and limited editions. He uses the store to tell the stories behind the brands.
Crystal Head Canadian vodka (below), a brand co-founded by actor Dan Ackroyd, has apparently been a particularly good seller prompting a visit from the man himself when he was in Paris recently.
TPLS sold a Rolling Stones version of the vodka earlier this year
Barclay claims the shop’s ‘lack of pretension’ is key to his success. “Customers aren’t intimidated to ask us about an unfamiliar spirit,” he says. “We attract younger people that are curious, not connoisseurs. They’re also sensitive to beautifully presented and packaged products.”
Barclay says he hopes to open another TPLS in the hippest areas of Paris – the Marais, République, or Bastille – but he hasn’t given up his day-job yet. Who says the French have no word for entrepreneur?
More details on The Paris Liquor Store here
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The July issue of Creative Review is a type special, with features on the Hamilton Wood Type Museum, the new Whitney identity and the resurgence of type-only design. Plus the Logo Lounge Trend Report, how Ideas Foundation is encouraging diversity in advertising and more