A CARLISLE business has found a digital way of netting new customers in time for the pre-Christmas rush.

The House of Malt shop, on Warwick Road, has been closed since the beginning of the lockdown in March.

However, it’s found that it’s been as busy as ever online - with its discerning clientele falling over themselves to buy its premium range of whisky, gin, wine, rum and various other tipples.

Recently however passers-by have been asking about the ‘mysterious’ 1m sq QR code on the shop window.

The code offers smartphone users the opportunity to shop directly with the business online - providing a portal to its website, where they can buy online and have the goods dispatched by courier.

Ben Turnbull, director of the company said: "Basically we’ve closed the shop for about eight or nine months since the beginning of the lockdown.

“We are classed as an essential shop, we could have stayed open but we decided to take the decision to concentrate online.

“To be honest we have just been very busy, so much so that the shop has turned almost into a warehouse.

“The reason we put the QR code on the window without any text is that we wanted to create a bit of a mystery.

“All people need to do is take a photo and that should take you to the site.

“It’s large enough the passengers of cars can take a pic on the way passed - or even people across the road."

Andy Butcher, who works in the business, said: “The QR code allows them to scan straight to our website for the click and collect function.

“We can get it turned around quickly and it is easier for them to deal with because people can’t come into the shop at the moment.

“There has been a renaissance in gin and whisky for sure but I think there is going to be another renaissance in rum over the next year or so.

“What we offer is I think different to what’s on offer in the supermarkets, it’s rarer and more exclusive but a premium product is not necessarily more expensive.

The company has been established for about five years and has been in its Warwick Road premises for about three years.

A number of customers have taken to website Trustpilot to sing the shops praises.

One recently said: “Wow, ordered yesterday and arrived this morning.

“At this time of year too, which is excellent.

“If you’re nervous about it being delivered, don’t be.

“It was absolutely wonderfully packed and the original box was also included to put the bottle in.

“I know someone who’s going to be thrilled with this on Christmas Day.

“Would definitely recommend this company and use them again.

Another said: “Best experience I’ve had in a long time from a company.

“Delivered my order the next day, I didn’t even pay for next day delivery, and my item was beautifully and safely packaged. My order was despatched within hours.

“Thank you so much.”

And another said: “Very professional in dealing with my order, great aftersales service.”

For information about what the business offers go to: www.houseofmalt.co.uk