Updated: May 15
Inspired by Record Store Day, an annual celebration to showcase the independent beer shop sector in the UK
A group of independent UK beer shops have forged a path together to highlight their sector and host an annual celebration. In 2020 during the global pandemic over 40 independent beer shops came together to collaborate with an indie UK brewery – Donzoko and release a beer highlighting and celebrating their sector within the beer ecosystem – Indie Graft. Building on that event and taking inspiration from Record Store Day, a steering committee of independent beer shop owners have taken the momentum to develop an annual national day to continue to highlight and have a voice for their sector. Shouting about the vibrancy and positive footfall these businesses drive to their local high streets, input and support to their local economy and ultimately their community and beer supply chain. Often beer conversations focus across on and off trade, with off trade only spotlighting the supermarket sector. As passionate owner-operators beer shops aka ‘the local bottleshop’ are important places on consumer’s beer discovery and journey. Often places where consumers can spend longer and valuable time searching, finding and learning more about the wonderful world of beer – breweries, history and beer styles. Whether it’s their first time exploring craft beer or their regular visit – always guided by friendly and welcoming beer shop staff.
Independent beer shops have ridden the rollercoaster of the pandemic, continuing to operate within Government guidance on the sector through this hugely challenging and prolonged time. Classed as essential shops, yet all operating differently and uniquely within that due to the independent nature of each beer shop. Managing to traverse this situation has been tough emotionally, economically and physically for many in the sector. Though the driving passion to keep their customers smiling has always been the ultimate goal and showed the indie beer shop sector as a vital link and valuable connection between brewery and customer within their communities. Many high streets have been suffering prior to the pandemic with footfall due to complex challenges including the encroachment of large online companies who are able to operate on slim margins and undercut competition with lower operational cost bases. In addition in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK high street has suffered a catastrophic year. For every £1 spent in a local business, around 50-70p recirculates back into the local economy. Showing the great value local businesses bring to their community and economy. For the same £1 spent out of town or online only 5p trickles back into the local economy.
The pandemic presented multiple challenges for independent bricks and mortar businesses with many themselves adapting to multiple ways of working across – continued in store walk in retail, UK mail order, local home delivery services and click and collect options. Via long-standing or newly created websites, others by telephone, email or utilising social media platforms. With many continuing this hybrid strategy whilst still keeping their focus on the importance and value of a high street presence to their community.
As the UK reopens on a strict roadmap, many beer shops are looking forward to returning to opening their doors fully from mid-April alongside the wider retail sector and welcoming their much missed customers back safely. By July, we anticipate that the high street, retail, pubs and hospitality will have returned to some ‘normality’ and this would be an excellent time to once again shout positively about our sector. Indie Beer Shop Day’s goal is to aid a coordinated recovery and revitalisation of each local high street up and down the UK.
Indie Beer Shop Day will take place Saturday 17th July and there are currently over 80 shops signed up to join in the celebration. Expect events, exclusive beer collaborations and more throughout the day across the whole of the UK; from Perth to Truro, from Whitley Bay to Cardiff, Yorkshire and everywhere in between.
Lookout for headline beer collaborations with brilliant UK breweries which will launch on the day and be available to purchase exclusively at those beer shops signed up for this annual event, much like Record Store Day with its anticipated special vinyl releases. In addition to local level unique beer collaborations, to discover and hunt out. Driving much needed excitement and a positive spotlight on this hard-working group of small businesses.
Culminating the celebration on the day, will be an evening virtual beer tasting hosted by renowned beer broadcaster and writer Pete Brown. Enabling beer shops and their customers globally to meet online, share a beer together, toast the safe return of their beloved retail venues and champion local breweries. We hope to welcome everyone along on the day for celebrations across the physical and virtual high street!
Organising Committee: Indie Beer Shop Day #IndieBeerShopDay
Chris Scullion – Independent Spirit of Bath
David Jones– Bier Huis
Jules Gray – Hop Hideout
Lynsey Clark – The Beer Cave
Tony Duke – Craft n Berry