Adnams has opened a pop-up shop in the centre of Chelmsford in Essex as it continues to expand its retail empire across East Anglia.

The store in the city’s High Chelmer shopping mall sells Adnams branded beers, wines and spirits and could become a permanent fixture if it proves successful.

That would make it Adnams’ second store in Essex – it has another in Saffron Walden – and would take the company’s retail estate to 13. It has opened one a year since 2013 and opened its 12th in Felixstowe in the spring.

Other stores are in Southwold – where the company is based – Holkham, Woodbridge, Stamford, Harleston, Holt, Hadleigh, Norwich, Aldeburgh and Bury St Edmunds.

Adnams is traditionally a brewer but has recently started producing a range of awardwinning craft spirits and really ramped up its own-brand wine range, while continuing to invest in its pubs and stores.

The shops have traditionally sold kitchenware alongside BWS, but drinks are now the main focus. Bradley Adnams, nephew of chairman Jonathan Adnams, spirits brand manager and responsible for international development, told OLN: “Over the past couple of years we have been trying to expand our retail estate. We used to have 12 and a couple in London but the offer wasn’t quite right and we have done a lot of work to get it right.

“Our offer used to focus a lot more on kitchenware and specialist wines we imported, but we have introduced more of our own wines. We have also increased our beer and spirits ranges and that has allowed us to increase the offer in store.”

Marketing director Emma Hibbert added: “We have been looking at Chelmsford for a while now and looking for the right opportunity. A pop-up is a good way to test the water.

“Chelmsford seemed a good area for us to be present in. If it works we will look to open permanently there. We might open more pop-ups. We just look at opportunities.”

The firm recently highlighted the array of beers and spirits it produces, along with the hundreds of exclusive wines it imports, at a food and drink matching event. Attendees were asked to decide whether its beers, wines or spirits paired best with food. Its Ghost Ship beer won, narrowly ahead of its Albariño and its gin and tonic. Many of the drinks are available to retailers across the UK.

“We have a really good story with our spirits,” said Bradley Adnams. “We use the same malted barley and it goes through the brewery first. It’s a beer without hops and we distil that to make our base spirit, our vodka. We use that vodka to make our gin.”

It also produces a range of whiskies and a rye is due next year.