Today I popped down to the very recently launched craft beer and real ale retail outlet aptly named ‘This Is Beer’ which opened its doors on the 3rd June 2017. Located along Lias Road (at the end of pedestrianised Mary Street) in the heart of Porthcawl, the shop hopes to take advantage of not only the seasonal tourists that visit this wonderfully picturesque seaside setting, but also tap into the locale’s thriving love of good beer.
Being a fellow Porthcawlian, I can’t deny that I was somewhat overjoyed to hear of the shop appearing practically on our doorstep. And after answering a call for beer loving bloggers to get involved, Christmas truly seemed to come early (for me at least).
Parking up close by, I ventured into the comfortably‐sized shop for the first time, whereby I was instantly greeted by shelf upon shelf of delightfully varied beers, ciders, wines and a bottle or two of local spirits. Over by the cash register I noticed the shop boasted a draught beer tap where customers can sample a particular beer they have on at that time straight from the keg.
Today’s little number was a light and zesty pale ale by the Tenby Brewing Co dubbed ‘Intergalatic Galaxy / Equinox Pale Ale’ (Alc. 5.6% vol). Co‐owner Richard duly poured a small taster of the beer for me, something I would later see him do for pretty much everyone who stepped into their charming little shop.
With beer in hand I got chatting with Richard to find out a little about their plans and hopes for the shop. Sadly, I’d missed the grand opening that took place the previous weekend, although I heard it was a triumphant success, with the shop bursting at the seams with beer lovers and thirsty locals, all wanting to see what the new addition to Porthcawl had to offer.
From chatting with Richard it became immediately apparent just how passionate he is about beer and the retail venture he has embarked upon with co‐owner James. With an unhideably cheeky grin plastered across his face, Richard spoke about the numerous micro‐breweries and outlets the shop had managed to source their beers from. Scampering off to the incredibly well‐stocked shelves opposite, Richard came back with a can of the limited run Mikkeller Beer Celebration Copenhagen (‘MBCC’) beer, which he described as a beer unlike any he’d ever tasted… “Citrusy and sour bursting with lemon zest” is the closest he could come to describing it.
Returning the can to its numerous friends on the shop’s shelves, Richard turned around to greet a couple who had just walked in. And this is where I feel the real strength in the ‘This Is Beer’ shop comes from. It’s in the shop’s ethos to their customers. I sat back on one of the barstools, supping my intergalactic beer, whilst quietly watching as Richard proceeded to chat away with the newcomers as if they were good friends. There was absolutely no sales pitch. From start to finish it was all about the beer.
This was something I witnessed throughout the hour or so I spent in the quaint little shop. Customers coming in, sampling the Tenby beer on tap, and stopping by for a chat. A group came in enquiring about a particular micro breweries’ beers – asking if ‘This Is Beer’ stocked them in mini‐kegs for a party they were putting on.
Although ‘This Is Beer’ sold the breweries stuff, they don’t (currently!) stock kegs or the like, but Richard said they could certainly get what they wanted in for them. A brief chat about exactly what beers they were after, with a few recommendations from Richard about what the micro‐brewery had and the differing keg sizes, then a quick swap of details, and the small group went away seemingly overjoyed that in the space of just five minutes in the shop, they’d managed to order the perfect drinks for their do.
I could go on with example after example of the refreshing customer care that ‘This Is Beer’ clearly offer.
But I’m pretty sure you’ve got the idea. It’s not all about sales. It’s about the love of the products. These two guys behind their beer shop are following a clear passion. They not only sell the stuff, but they drink it too. It’s something that was evident in every conversation that I saw them having. I admit, I’m more than a little excited about This Is Beer. These two guys’ unpretentious but clearly passionate love of the stuff they have on their shelves is as refreshing as the zesty‐golden (grapefruit‐tasting) beer I’d just sampled.
Hearing the plans for the shop and their website, of the beer club and tasting nights they were hoping to put on, along with the strong customer loyalty they would be championing for, as well as the various avenues in beer they would be reaching into (more German and Belgium beers seemed top of the agenda), I couldn’t help but feel that what we have here in Porthcawl and online, was going to be something far more than just a place to pick up a few wonderfully sourced beers and ciders.
Time to start sampling some damn fine beers…