Beer shop openings continue at rapid pace
The rapid pace of specialist beer shop openings is showing no signs of slowing down, with new stores springing up across the UK this summer.
In the past few weeks DRN learned of beer shops relocating to bigger and better sites to cater for demand, brewers opening their first shops, existing beer retailers adding to their estates and beer enthusiasts setting up their first retail businesses.
In Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, the owners of Bottle Craft said their store has been such a success since it opened in 2015 that they have decided to move it to a more prominent unit.
Director Chris Wilson said: “We always wanted to be in Hanley as we knew there wasn’t much of a drinking circuit in the town, but originally we couldn’t afford to be on [main drag] Piccadilly so we went to the side of this.
“We smashed every target we set ourselves and we got to a point where we were just too busy.
“When we heard that a clothing retailer in a prominent location in the town was retiring we leapt at the chance, even though the overheads are a lot more. It took a long time to change the unit, but we now have a bottle shop with a craft beer bar over two floors and a cellar, which allows us to have 12 keg lines and two traditional hand pulls.
“We have increased our floor space by about 40%, and we have a much bigger seating area now. We have up to 350 cans and bottles for sale at any one time and it’s a combination of local stuff and global beers from Japan, Denmark, Norway, France, Croatia and more.
“We used to be a destination for beer lovers but we have noticed a lot more passing trade coming in now that we are in a better spot.”
Wilson added: “We are more visible and next to one of the big theatres here in Hanley. We can now do more events and a home-brew workshop, plus we support local events with a pop-up bar.”
Other beer shop openings across the UK this summer include:
Beer Necessities in Bristol’s harbourside quarter. Henry Revell, director at Beer Necessities, chose Cargo 2 for his first foray into beer retailing. Shipping container park Cargo houses 26 businesses and will soon extend into Cargo 2 to take on seven additional food and drink companies. Beer Necessities will sell craft beers in bottles, cans and growlers.
Beer Ambleside. Kelly Barbenson, who brews at the Tarn Hows Brewery in Cumbria, opened her first shop in July. Beer Ambleside offers a range of bottles, cans and growlers. She said: “I think craft beer has just gone mental. More people than ever are drinking beers and I think it’s great for the county.”
Craft Palace was opened in south London’s Crystal Palace by Mark and Ela Westow in July. The pair already have a small shop in Broadway Market, Tooting, called Craft Tooting.
Independent wine and beer merchant The Bottle Shop’s expansion into a third location in Wales. The company, which started in 2011, already has stores in Cardiff and Penarth, and it now plans to move into Pontcanna. Owner Daniel Williams has applied for a licence in the area.