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The Rise Of The Drink-In Craft Beer Shop

June 2019Words by Mr Jim Merrett

Clapton Craft exterior, Clapton. Photograph courtesy of Clapton Craft

The British boozer, that shared social space with its sticky carpets and hardened locals, is under threat. Last year, the Office for National Statistics reported that, since 2001, 25 per cent of the UK’s pubs had called last orders for the final time. Much like the clientele after 11pm, the scale of the decline is, well, staggering. But it’s not the whole story.

Mr Tom McKim, the director of craft beer bottle shop Clapton Craft, says the fate of the local is more complicated than the spreadsheets suggest: “While the top line figures show an increase in pub closures – especially since 2008 [the financial crash] – there’s been a big increase in the number of pubs opening that specialise in craft beer.”

In five years, Mr McKim’s shop has grown from a single site in Hackney, east London, to a small chain of five premises across the city. And as well as selling takeaway cans and bottles of pale ales and porters from local breweries and batch makers further afield, it provides a place for customers to sample the stock, with in-store taps and regular tasting events across its branches.