Sunny Grewal with his whiskey lockers. PHOTOS/JADE CVETKOV

PAM GRAHAM
pam.graham@age.co.nz

A new kind of storage locker in town – for whisky – is selling fast.

Koi, a new restaurant that held an opening party in Kuripuni on Tuesday, has a whisky lounge where you can rent a locker for $300 a year to store your bottle of whisky purchased from the bar.

All but three of the 25 lockers for the whisky have sold, says owner Sunny Grewal.

People can name their locker. Most have temporary names, but one will be called “Pest”.

Grewal said the idea of buying a bottle of whisky and leaving it at the restaurant came from whisky bars in Japan and it was also a personal association for him.

“I am a big whisky lover and the way it started was my grandfather used to drink whisky and he would have those private sessions with his family and friends, sitting in a cosy area with a bottle of whisky on the table and enjoying it,” he said.

The whisky lounge at Koi harks back to those times, with comfy leather chairs in the colonial style.

The premises of Kuripuni’s Koi bar.

The restaurant serves dishes from India and Southeast Asia, including with Malaysian and Thai influences.

“I always wanted to do something different in terms of whisky,” he said.

Grewal said his family had been in the hospitality game for about 18 years and had owned businesses in New Plymouth, Tauranga and Auckland.

He opened the first Koi restaurant and whisky bar in New Plymouth last year.

He has fitted out the former Wairarapa Trading Company bar in four weeks. He took on the premises on June 11.

People with the whisky lockers in New Plymouth typically would have dinner at the restaurant and then adjourn to the bar for a whisky from their locker. They can also just have nibbles in the whisky lounge.

Businesses rented lockers and used them for special occasions with clients. People also purchased the lockers as gifts.

The business stocks whiskey with an “e” from Ireland and whisky from Scotland as well as Japanese and Indian versions. It doesn’t yet stock a New Zealand whisky.

Grewal is based in New Plymouth and has a Wairarapa business partner who will be managing Koi.

He said Kuripuni had a charm about it and he liked the feel of the area.

“Our business model has always been about a community-based style,” he said.