Beer shops link with brewer to drive support for the sector

Independent beer shops are planning an event that resembles Record Store Day, in a bid to reignite the sector following the coronavirus lockdown.

More than 50 independent beer retailers have joined forces with the North East brewery Donzoko, to encourage drinkers to “support your local beer shop” on July 18.

The stores will launch the brewer’s specially-brewed Indie Graft beer, created for the occasion.

Beer shops across the country will be taking part, including stores in Manchester, Worthing, Leeds, St Albans, Ossett, Brighton, Nottingham, Sheffield, Birmingham, Bath, Portsmouth, London and Cardiff, as well as some in Scotland.

The idea was suggested by Sheffield-based beer shop Hop Hideout. Owner, Jules Gray, linked with other like-minded retailers - including Vessel Beer Shop in Plymouth, Crafty Beer Shop in Barnstaple, Exeter’s Hops and Crafts and Bottles and Books in Bristol - and they worked together to champion the indie beer shop sector.

Hartlepool’s Donzoko Brewing was chosen for the event by the retailers because it is an owner-operated small brewery, which has been unable to access grant support and had faced similar challenges as those the retailers had faced during lockdown.

Reece Hugill, of Donzoko, said: “Not accessing any grant support and having all our revenue stream cut, really hit hard. But seeing people turn to their small independent shops and producers is really good to see. This beer is a celebration of that, sticking together and grafting to keep people in good beer.”

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