Published on November 9, 2017 | by Alastair Gilmour


Shop expansion is just champion

People who work in the beer business often have a canny knack of squeezing efficient working areas out of the tiniest spaces. Pub landlords can get maximum efficiency out of particularly small cellars.

It’s partly through these terms of efficiency – and having a good product to sell – that James Andrews has made such a success out of Champion Bottle Shop & Taps in Heaton, Newcastle (pictured above).

The tiny off-license has recently been refurbished into the rear garage, extending storage space and into the rear garage that now houses the large fridge that keeps six lines of keg beer at optimum temperature. This has left space to reorganise the service area – six beer taps and three draught wines – plus a clever device that shoots CO2 into take-away growlers then fills them up with beer. That way, the beer keeps longer, is fresher and the bottles are more sterile.

James has kept the same number of bottles and cans in the four fridges – 250 at a quick calculation – but has arranged them in styles rather than as specific breweries. Customers focused on a particular type of beer find it easier and less confusing.

A couple of tables and chairs are ideal for locals popping in after work and having a catch-up over a beer or trying one or two before taking a supply home. A large outdoor bench catches every bit of sunshine and watches the world go by. Eventually there will be room for four more tables out the back, but that’s a work in progress.

James says: “It’s getting even busier; people are liking the new layout. The American bottles are going well at the moment and we’re getting interesting beers and ciders in all the time. A popular one is collaboration beer called Pullyu from New Zealand’s Yeastie Boys and Gladstone Vineyard that pushes the boundaries of beer and wine.

“We want to keep what we offer as high quality as possible. You can grab any bottle in here and it’ll be a good one.”

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Alastair Gilmour

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