Beer Boutique aims to become high street leader

A beer specialist that opened its second and third stores in the past year has revealed ambitious plans to become Britain’s best-known high street beer retailer.

Beer Boutique started as a Belgian beer specialist six years ago, with a flagship store in Putney, south west London, and a strong online following.

Under new ownership, it opened outlets in nearby Wandsworth then Tunbridge Wells in Kent. The newer stores offer a range of 400 craft beers.

Owner Jonathan Kaye told DRN: “The opening of our Tunbridge Wells store was the start of a trend for us expanding outside of London. We know London is spoilt with a lot of good craft beer breweries and easy access to good beers, but the interest in craft beer is not just a London phenomenon.”

Kaye wants to get store numbers to double figures in the next two and a half years, “quicker if we can”.

“The opportunity at the moment is that there is no single dominant beer brand in terms of retail and we want to get to the stage where we are the one place you think of when you think of beer,” he said. “We went from one store a year ago to three now, so we are learning quickly about how to open outlets and what stores we are looking for. “We have had an online presence for fi ve years so we have a good following across the country.

“We have plans to open a new store in the next two or three months, five by Christmas, then five more over the following 18 months. “We don’t want to expand too fast. It takes an hour to travel between our Putney and Tunbridge Wells stores, which is fine, but we have to consider geography.

“There are a lot of good towns between Putney, Guildford and Reading so the aim is to fill in that quadrant initially. “For the longer-term we want to move across the country, so we would be looking at Bath, Bristol and Cheltenham, then Manchester, where there are some amazing breweries. But I do want to do it slowly and we want to make sure we get the right sites.”

The Tunbridge Wells store opened last December then the rear half of the premises opened up in February, offering an on-trade element. It would be this concept and store size that the business wants to replicate, he said.

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