In early February 2020, oblivious to what was about to happen to the world and expecting festivals galore, we made our biggest purchase as a company to date – a 1984 Transit Ambulance. We bought it off local legend, Simon Morrice, who has recently gone full bricks and mortar by taking over The Phoenix just outside Cambridge. Simon loved his Ambulance (he’d come to call it the ‘Shedbulance’ because his sandwich shop was called the Urban Shed). He’d finally come to terms about selling it after realising he’d built up a fleet of 8 vehicles because he “just liked vans too much”.
Our Whatsapp group lit up with this news, “Imagine the scene we could make at a festival with this….”, “you literally wouldn’t be able to miss us”, “we could call it the wine-bulance” etc. So needless to say we were interested. We gave Simon a call, and thanks to our not insignificant consumption of his utterly delicious sandwiches over the years, he said we were exactly the sort of people he was looking to sell to. And so, we bought it!
We had planned the for the Ambulance to be a key attraction for us at food and drink festivals across the south of England. Whenever we mention canned wine to people, one of the most common reactions is, “I can totally see that at a festival like Wilderness”. It makes a lot of sense – many of the use case arguments of cans come into their own in a festival setting – they’re portion sized, recyclable, quick to chill, take up minimal space etc. So we booked ourselves into festivals pretty much every weekend of 2020 and more than anything just wanted to get in front of people to find out what they thought of the wines, the designs, cans etc.
Of course then it came. Forget a spanner in the works, this was a pandemic in the works. The email from event organisers trickled in, cancellations left right and centre, few if any deposits back, and a key part of our business plan ripped up. And the Ambulance? Well it’s just sat outside Cambridge for well over a year now….it’s a sorry sight we’ll admit and having your biggest “asset” on your balance sheet not being able to do anything has been a real kick in the teeth….
But, and here is the good thing, finally, it’s beginning to look like we might be able to use the Ambulance for our very first event. So we’ve getting back in our overalls and getting ready to re-spray, re-design and fully kit this beauty out ready to make a splash, whenever that might be. Worst comes to worst we’ve got probably the most extra delivery vehicle you could image….
Want to see us dust off the Ambulance? Maybe you have an event in the summer you want us to be at? We’d love to hear from you get in touch on [email protected]. Also seriously tips on how to refurb a 1984 Transit Ambulance seriously needed!