Cave Direct to open London site and training centre for wholesale customers

By James Beeson contact

- Last updated on GMT

New site: Beer Merchants Tap will include a taproom, bottle shop and Belgian sour blendery
New site: Beer Merchants Tap will include a taproom, bottle shop and Belgian sour blendery

Related tags: Beer, Public house

Beer Merchants, the retail arm of London-based distributor Cave Direct, has revealed plans to open a bar in Hackney Wick, east London.

The Beer Merchants Tap will also contain a training centre and provide lessons on beer serving and cellar management for Cave’s wholesale customers.

The 3,000sq ft site will be “an industrial but comfortable space with a large beer garden” and will include a taproom, bottle shop and Belgian sour blendery.

The pub side of the site will be dedicated to the best beer around the world, with more than 20 keg lines and cask, while the Tap will work as a physical extension of Beer Merchants shop, allowing customers to pick up online orders free of charge and buy beer to drink in or takeaway.

Crowdfunding scheme 

The company also plans to start a barrel-ageing and blending project, taking beer from the UK and abroad, then ageing it to create Belgian-influenced sour beers, available only from the Tap.

The project will be part-funded via a crowdfunding scheme, which will offer investors the chance to earn £2 to spend in the Tap for every £1 they invest. Cave Direct hopes to raise at least £50,000 to go towards fitting out the building. The site will open regardless of the amount raised, with the rest of the funding coming from bank loans.

Members can pledge between £50 and £1,000 and will get double that on a gift card to spend in the pub as well as 5% off at the company’s online shop for life.

Cave Direct marketing manager Jonny Garrett told The Morning Advertiser​ that education of the company’s customers was a key factor behind the decision to offer sensory training on-site.

Education and cellar care key

“As well as the really exciting taps, fridges and blending project, this site is about helping our trade customers and the rest of the sector too,” he said. “With our expertise and internal tech team, we’ll build a state-of-the-art cellar in which we’ll run cellarmanship and line cleaning lessons.

“We’ll also offer sensory training and beer school courses in our events space. As the pub sector premiumises, it is vital that sites offer a better cared-for product, and education is key to that.”

Cave Direct managing director Colin Gilhespy added: “My dad founded Cave Direct back in 1979 and, when I joined, my first job was setting up our little bottle shop in south-east London. Since that closed [in 2003], opening our own taproom is something we’ve always wanted to do.

“The Tap allows us to create a wonderful place for beer lovers to try the hundreds of incredible beers we bring in, as well as a centre of excellence to help our customers look after their beer and make sure their own sites excel.”

In August, Cave Direct announced it would be selling cask beer​ – from Welsh brewery Tiny Rebel – for the first time in its 38-year history.  

Related topics: Beer

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