Fred Reid sends this entry about a well-known family merchant in northern England as part of our indie writing competition.
About 15 years ago, as a medical student, I was sent to what is now Royal Blackburn Hospital. This turned out to be a very good experience, not least of which was discovering D Byrne & Co. One of the consultants recommended it, so one Saturday I made the trip along Lancashire's scenic Ribble Valley to Clitheroe, a journey that I have repeated many times since then.
The town is a very pleasant rural town with much to commend it, but to me the finest jewel in its crown is D Byrne & Co. The old-fashioned shop front on King Street, whilst very inviting, looks like the front of a one-room shop. Do not be deceived. Steps in the corner of the room lead down into cellars beneath adjoining shops. An Aladdin's cave of wine.
The selection of wine is impressive, both in geography and price. That first visit, as a medical student, my budget for a bottle or two still afforded me a choice from around the world. As the years have passed I have enjoyed the fruits of my labours from their shelves.
The firm remains strongly a family concern. The same faces, ever-friendly and knowledgeable about their wares, continue from year to year. During the course of the year they put together excellent mixed cases for spring, summer, Christmas, etc which provide very reliable value for money. Also for those not fortunate enough to live within travelling distance, these cases are available for delivery around the UK.
For me D Byrne & Co are surely the finest wine merchants in the north of England, repeatedly winning awards. Also they have an outstanding Scotch whisky selection, and other spirits and beers.
D Byrne & Co
12 King Street
01200 423152 or 422281