Beer boom for South Downs Cellars

04 September, 2015

Sussex independent wine merchant South Downs Cellars is running an Oktoberfest promotion for the first time after seeing its beer sales soar this year.

Over the past year the retailer has grown its beer range from 30 to more than 200 lines, most of which are craft brews.

The shop is also introducing key kegs this month, from which customers can buy refillable 1-litre bottles or 1.84-litre growlers. The beers are kept fresh by a new bit of machinery that pumps compressed air into the keg.

They will feature a rotating selection of two brews at a time — expected to feature one local beer and one well-known craft brew such as The Kernel or Beavertown.

Manager James Halliday said: “Beer sales are going through the roof. Last year they accounted for 5% of turnover — now it is over 25%. We are struggling to keep up with demand and are developing the offering.

“We spotted that beers were expanding. I’m into craft beer myself and there are more and more craft beer pubs opening and customers are asking about them.

“We moved beer to the back end of the shop where we created a beer wall with new shelves, and went from dealing with just local breweries to five craft beer specialists including James Clay, Pig’s Ears and Beer Paradise.”

The Oktoberfest event will include an autumnal window display featuring beers, especially German ones.

Halliday said: “This is the first time we have done anything like this. There is an Oktoberfest in London and we are tapping into that. We are increasing our range of German beers for that month and will probably run a little promotion on it.”

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