The boom for specialist craft drinks stores continues apace as DRN has learned of shops opening in Merseyside, Gateshead and Bath during the past few weeks.

Merseyside’s newcomer, which is based at Inglenook farm in Rainford, opened to the public in August. Samantha Bailey and Neil Ashton from Sutton Manor, St Helens, set up the shop with a view to offering a wide variety of bottled and canned options from local breweries.

The shop, named Cat Hop Beers after the pair’s love of both cats and beer, also sells ciders, meads and fruit wines from across the UK.

Ashton said: “We will specialise in locally brewed produce in our mission to show that some of the top beers around at the moment are produced down the road and not just in the US, Germany and Belgium. We have hand-picked all of the products, so our customers can be confident that our selection of stock showcases the very best of what is around. We will host an ever-changing and expanding collection.”

The creators of Gateshead’s Steampunk Gin have opened a shop selling craft beers, wines and premium spirits. The Rare Drop in Low Fell, Gateshead, opened its doors for the first time on September 8.

Husband and wife team Charlie and Julie Gibbs launched Steampunk Gin three years ago and sales have been “off the scale”, according to Julie.  

She told DRN: “We wanted to set up a shop because we were supplying lots of local wine and spirits shops with our gin but they are all the other side of the river in Newcastle. In Gateshead there is only one other and it just does beer, whereas we wanted to do wine, spirits and beer, as well as events.

“We put a message out online to our potential local customers to get a feel about whether the shop would be popular and what they might want to see, and within a few hours we were amazed to have had 200 comments back. It just inspired us to continue with our plans.”

The store has more than 40 beers, a wide range of wines and a selection of spirits that focuses on gin, with almost 40 different brands. It also has a “please can you get” book, where customers can ask for specific brands and the Gibbs will try to track down.

An independent craft beer shop has also opened in the West Country. Beercraft of Bath has an international selection of beer, including ones from Australia, New Zealand and Japan. These are complemented with local beers from Frome and brews from Bristol’s Electric Bear brewery, among others. The shop will have a takeaway system when beer taps are installed, whereby customers can take home fresh beer from the barrel, either in large plastic or glass containers.

The shop is owned by Davin Kenwood and James Oliver, the team behind Guitarbiz, a newly opened music shop in the city.