Bison Beer store is bullish about future

21 January, 2016

A Brighton-based craft beer retailer has revealed plans for off-trade expansion just nine months after opening, in addition to its attempts to move into the on-trade.

The Bison Beer Crafthouse has seen sales exceed expectations since it opened in April 2015, and the company has high hopes for 2016.

“We definitely want to expand the off-trade side and we are currently looking for the ideal locations,” said co-founder Nick Vardy.

“We would like to open another local branch, ideally in Hove, as well as others in the wider Sussex area, hopefully this side of Christmas.

“Basically, if we find the right location we will shape the business to fit that.”

The company is seeking sites that are up to double the size of the existing shop, and the team is considering incorporating new areas such as food, possibly via a delicatessen.

“We would like to bring the food and beer sides together and it would also be good to tap into the home-brew side of things,” said Vardy. “There’s a huge appetite for it and there aren’t many places in Brighton which sell the kits and parts for aspiring home brewers.”

Meanwhile, the team is also working on a Seedrs crowdfunding campaign to move into the on-trade.

At the end of last year Bison put in an application to take over a vacant Brighton pub site to prevent it from being turned into a fast food restaurant. “We definitely feel the time is right for a tap room of sorts for Bison Beer,” said Vardy.

“We heard before Christmas that Burger King’s application had been rejected with regards to some work it needed to do to the building. It wasn’t altogether unexpected.

“We stepped in because we felt that unless there was a viable alternative for the site, which had been left empty for the past four years, the council would eventually have no choice but to allow Burger King to take it.”

Vardy said the company has had a great response to its bid so far and Bison has been invited to meet the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion Caroline Lucas, who has commended the pair for trying to bring the site back into use.

Bison needs to raise £100,000 by February 2 and it must also invest £100,000 of its own money to progress further.

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