If you need any help, or you need to contact us, here’s the place to be. Let’s start with some FAQs. Contact methods are below the FAQs.
What is Oak and Barley?
An online retail platform that sells imported whiskies. Nothing more and nothing less. Whisky or Whiskey and occasionally things closely related to Whisky and Whiskey, for example, drinking glasses.
What’s the Point? Whisky and Whiskey are everywhere – aren’t they?
Well, no. Not really. Whisky and whiskey as a category is still relatively young in China. Historically, imported spirits have been dominated by brandy and cognac while whiskies were typically represented by cheap blends for mixed drinks. This has changed massively over the past decade and whisky in all it’s glory has grown year on year.
Of course, there are truckloads of people and brands that all think they were the catalyst for this surge in whisky in China, but we like to think that the growth in demand has been rather natural and organic due to the fact that whisky is such a broad and diverse category, that there’s something for everyone.
In Tier 1 cities, yes, whisky is popular and it has high availability. But outside the major cities, options for consumers are limited usually to a few imported blends and some locally produced offerings.
Buying online does have better options. However, most consumers are then left with the choice of taking a gamble about authenticity on the cheaper online platforms, or being absolutely gouged on what we might call the “foreigner-friendly platforms”.
We try to be something different. We run our own online platforms (we don’t trade on any of those online marketplaces), we buy all our products from importers that are part of our group of companies. We have our own group distribution network. We also wholesale to bars and restaurants and of course we retail.
How long has Oak and Barley been around?
As an online retail platform, Oak and Barley has been trading in China since 2018. It was a spin-off from Liquor Town (which started trading in 2015. Both Oak and Barley and Liquor Town are part of a group that has been importing and distributing alcohols since 2007.
Where is Oak and Barley Located?
Our Customer Support Team (who help all our customers with order and tracking numbers) is primarily based in Shenzhen although we ship most of our products from our warehouse in Tianjin. We used to ship everything from Shenzhen, but our site there just isn’t big enough any more so we use a second site.
How do I know you’re real?
Caution in every country in the world with respect to online business is a good mindset. But China has something very unique for any business in China that wants to have a website. The ICP License process.
At the bottom of each page, you will see a reference to an ICP license. This is what ours says:
The first bit is the copyright, the second bit is our company name, and the bit on the end (粤ICP备15064533号-2 tells you that our ICP License number is 15064533 and the final number 2 shows you that we have three websites on this ICP license. We have Liquor Town, Oak and Barley and Chateau Bole on this same ICP License.
All companies in China, if they want to host their website in China, need an ICP license. That proves that we are a real company, legally registered in China, with licenses to do our business.
In many other countries, any old chump can register a domain name, throw up some pages, type some blurb and pretend they are a real business, while cash trading out of their spare room. China doesn’t allow that kind of nonsense, which is one of the many reasons we are here in China, working in an environment that helps legitimate businesses to stand out and be recognised.
Can I come and visit?
Well, probably not. We’re not a bar or a shop. We are located in an industrial park and it’s not exactly a destination location for tourism. We don’t facilitate people that simply want to rock up, have a nose around and maybe buy a bottle or two. Try your local supermarket for that.
But – if you have any serious matters to discuss that might require you to visit us, then use the QR code below to get in touch for us to help you.
I’ve bought some booze – where is it?
You can log back into your Oak and Barley account, and check your own order status. If will show either “processing” or “completed”. Processing means we have your order but we haven’t shipped it yet. Completing means we have shipped it.
If it’s shipped, we will add the tracking number and shipping details to the notes on your order.
What are Customer Support Groups?
Customers that we know, or have contacted us before, will have their own dedicated WeChat Group – we call them Customer Support Groups. In this group will be you the customer, and typically 3 to 5 Customer Support Team Members. This ensures that there’s always someone to help you with your questions, queries or to give you the tracking numbers in your Customer Support Group also.
What are typical delivery times?
China is a huge country so it can vary. As a rough example, anything in Guangdong, orders places before 16:00 from Monday to Friday will almost always arrive the next day. Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guizhou and Guangxi, are typically 48 hours, the rest of China will normally be 72 hours, except Heilongjiang, Xinjiang and Tibet – all of which are typically 5 days.
Our advice is to contact us (using the WeChat QR code below) and ask us about product availability before you place an order. This way we can ensure that we have your bottles to send out the same day before you buy.
Why are you so cheap? What’s going on?
Volumes of bottles sold and very simple economies of scale. We keep costs low by having offices and warehouses in cheaper suburbs and most of the time we use space from other companies within our group that help us out. We have our own trucks to supply our warehouses so this is another cost-saving that helps us. We get preferential rates on our express delivery fees due to the volumes that we pack and ship. Finally, we work on very low-profit margins – typically we are putting liquor into the retail market at between 3% and 5% gross margin.
How can I know if your products are real?
Good question. It’s also one of the reasons why we are so popular as a retailer of alcohols.
We developed our own NFC chip-based technology, which you can interact with by downloading a smartphone app. We call it DMSJ. The chips are all unique (yes, every single bottle has it’s own unique chip on it) which interacts with the smartphone app, and our blockchain back end.
The blockchain tracks the entire custody chain of the product, from distillery to your hand. When you receive the bottle it will also have your name and home city listed on the blockchain record. It also tracks how many times each bottle was scanned, and the GPS location of each scan, to ensure that the bottles are not being refilled.
If you would like to learn more about DMSJ you can CLICK HERE.
Why don’t you list any Liquor?
Oak and Barley is dedicated to whisky and whiskey. Vodka, gin, rum, tequila, brandy, cognac, liqueurs and cocktail bundles are all on Liquor Town. If you want to link to Liquor Town where we normally have a few hundred different liquors, then please CLICK HERE.
What about wine? Where can I find wine?
Wine retail is primarily run through another sister site, Chateau Bole. We never list wines here on Oak and Barley, but if you really want to see a much fuller and extensive range, then you really need to go and see what Chateau Bole has to offer – you can CLICK HERE.
Contact Us on WeChat
If we haven’t been able to help you with our FAQ, or if you have any reason to get in touch (for example, you’ve just placed an order) then use the QR code below to get in touch.
Follow Us On WeChat
If you would like to stay up to date with what’s happening in the world of liquor, then why don’t you follow our official account.
Use the QR code below and you’ll see regular updates about products and promotions.