New business selling ‘bespoke’ Caribbean rum online given go-ahead by licensing committee

Date published: 07 December 2021

A family business selling ‘bespoke’ Caribbean rum online has been given the thumbs up by licensing committee members.

Island Rumz will run its internet-based operation from a semi-detached house in Castleton, Rochdale.

As bottles of the fashionable beverage will be stored at the property, the business needs a licence to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises.

And this has now been granted by a Rochdale Council sub-committee, following a meeting that heard from the firm’s co-founder Delgado Junior Waite.

The decision came despite objections from some residents, who raised concerns over possible increased anti-social behaviour, noise nuisance and traffic problems.

Mr Waite told a hearing at Number One Riverside that neighbours may have misunderstood the nature of the business, believing it would be open to customers.

He explained that purchases are not directly dispatched to customers from the house, but collected regularly by an online marketplace to replenish their stock, depending on the level of demand.

He said: “We don’t plan on selling alcohol directly from the property, it’s not something we are considering.

“All Amazon do is come to our property, pick up the alcohol and promote it on their website. We do the packaging, but they pick it up and deliver it.”

Mr Waite added that drivers would check the passport or driving licence upon delivery to ensure the customer was aged 18 or over.

The entrepreneur told the three-strong panel that he sympathised with residents’ concerns, but felt they were misplaced.

“The majority I understand, because I don’t think they realised it was an online shop,” he said.

“They thought it was a shop that would sell from the property, that’s not the case.

“The anti-social behaviour and things like that that were raised, that’s not really an issue, because nobody will be purchasing alcohol from our property.”

Mr Waite also reassured the committee he could book deliveries and collections for times that would cause minimum disruption to his neighbours.

Following a lengthy period of deliberation, the sub-committee – chaired by Councillor Phil Burke and also including Councillor John Taylor and Councillor Amna Mir – decided to grant the premises licence.

This was subject to conditions included in the application but with the additional requirement for CCTV to be installed and made available to the authorities on request.

Vehicles must also be parked in the driveway of the premises when collecting or delivering bottles of rum.

Mr Waite – known as Junior – joined forces with step-dad Craig Hunt to launch Island Rumz after the duo began making their own flavoured rum during lockdown.

The outfit sources all its rum from the Caribbean and has also partnered with Midlands-based distillery Staffordshire Brewery.

It is hoping to bring out a Jamaican rum called Sorrel, traditionally only drunk at Christmas, in time for the festive season.

Rochdale Council’s licensing sub-committee met at Number One Riverside on Tuesday (7 December).

Nick Statham, Local Democracy Reporter

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