A look back at another extraordinary year here at Master of Malt including the heroics involved in moving of our entire fulfilment and warehousing operation over one weekend…

As we usually do around this time of year (when one of us remembers that it’s a thing) we’re going to indulge ourselves in a retrospective of the previous 12 months and reflect on some of the more noteworthy happenings in the world of MoM. Hopefully it’ll act as a tonic for the alternative retrospectives of 2016 which are full of the passing of incredibly talented artists, maniacs coming dangerously close to or actually being waved into power in various corners of the globe, and political and economic uncertainty.

Last year we lifted the bonnet on the inner workings of MoM to let you know a little bit more about what makes us tick, and the values that we hold ourselves to in everything we do. We also invited you to call us out if we fail to live up to those values.

We were able to breath a sigh of relief soon after, when the much feared deluge of criticism failed to emerge. In fact, in general, we were flattered to receive some wonderful positive feedback. That invitation stands though, and if you think we’re ever ‘being shits’, you simply must let us know.

We also won a bunch more awards this year which, as ever, is incredible, and makes us proud as punch. More importantly though, it acts as a vote of confidence in our general outlook on life and business, which is really lovely and motivates us to double down on that approach.

Our approach isn’t always universally loved though, and we started a bit of a fire when we went public with our approach to allocations. The level of editorial engagement with this policy has been extraordinary, with lots of strong opinions on both sides of the argument. See the comments on the original blog post as well as the Yamazaki Sherry Cask product page (not to mention our social media channels) to get an idea for just how much opinion there was around this, and how exercised that opinion can get. We stand firm though: there is no easy answer here but we consider our approach to be the ‘least worst’, and we get to do some good for a wonderful charity along the way.

In February we remembered how nice beer is, so we extended our range significantly to make it trivial for us our customers to access a range of hundreds of brilliant beers (817 and counting).

In April we continued our integration with Drinks by the Dram‘s 3cl samples, adding the ability to build your own tasting sets to the site, which has proven to be fantastically popular.

Throughout the year we also continued our war on the monster that is shipping with permanent free (or subsidised for international orders) shipping on order over £99 (and lower order values in the run up to Christmas) and free shipping offers on dozens of products. Damn you shipping, damn you all the way to Hades… We will see justice done upon you.

And then before we knew it, it was Christmas again! #WhiskySanta was at it again, giving away north of an incredible £100,000 of goodies, including samples of the rare-as-hen’s-teeth Buffalo Trace Antique Collection.

There’s a lot more besides that make us grin from ear to ear, but we want to close by focusing on an event made us as proud and grateful as anything else we’ve done in our entire history; and that was our warehouse move.

For the last 5 years we’ve been operating out of a warehouse that could charitably be referred to as ‘a joke’. A move to larger premises was long overdue, and so 2016 was the year to finally do it. We’ve retained our existing warehouse and occupied a new property which has over ten times the operational area of the original place, and now that we look at it it’s impossible to accept that all that stuff could possibly have fit into the original premises. We can only imagine that some sort of localised spacetime anomaly is at play.

What was really amazing about this operation was our commitment that no customer orders should be delayed due to the move, and by some miracle it was achieved. Except that it wasn’t a miracle, it was the sheer determination and commitment of our incredible team that meant that we managed to move our entire fulfilment and warehousing operation over the space of one weekend whilst maintaining operational continuity.

It was an astounding effort that involved 1,500 person-hours, hundreds of pallets, 20 lorries and vans, stand-up pizza breaks, tonnes of camaraderie, a mountain of bubble-wrap, hundreds of thousands of bottles, and an amazing result.

All of that is neatly summarised in this video.

See how very tiny our old warehouse was (top left for the first portion of the video), enjoy the flurry of activity, be mesmerised by the fluid movement of bubble-wrap mountain (bottom left).

Seriously though, all thanks go to our amazing staff. It was a truly astounding effort.

And so here we find ourselves, at the dawn of 2017, looking forward to another amazing year; including the prospect of outgrowing our new warehouse and having to move all over again!

The Chaps at Master of Malt