As well as a more than doubling of the current rent (£36k p.a. vs £17k p.a.), there was an equally as important but less headline grabbing issue – a small clause in the lease that takes away the option of automatic renewal at the end of any deal. What this means is that, however well the site trades, the landlord could come along at the end of the term and kick us out with no recourse from our end. This level of uncertainty makes things very difficult for any business in terms of having confidence to invest for the long term in that location.
These two factors were a massive double whammy for us and have made a great site simply unviable. It was not a decision we took lightly and it wasn’t one we wanted to have to make.
We opened our Clapham Junction store with a bang back in October 2015 when we were joined by over 60 brewers, sales reps, customers, and other friends from the trade for a launch night to remember. We gave all the beer away for free and ended up receiving 3 complaints from the neighbours – oops! Fortunately we managed to sweet talk the neighbours round and were pretty well behaved from then on in. 2, Brilliant Bottle Shares
Our monthly bottle shares have been so much fun to run, and we’re always so impressed by the calibre of bottles being brought along as well as the generosity of those sharing. Over the years we’ve enjoyed Westvletern 12, numerous Cantillon, some rare Cigar City and some crazy stuff from Wild Beer and Mikkeller.3, Garden Parties
When we took on the site, the garden was an extra thrown in that we weren’t too sure we’d use. We of course changed our mind as soon as the sun came out and we realised we had one of the best beer gardens in South London – chilled, secluded and filled with amazing craft beer. Our first summer saw us go full on with the garden parties and we had great fun hosting our friends from Mondo Brewery, Fourpure, New Zealand Beer Collective as well as street food from Oh My Dog, BaBaBoom and Stranger Naan’s. We even managed to keep the neighbours onside – mainly by always inviting them along! Such fun!4, Food & Beer Events
The upstairs tasting room always allowed for us to take our events up a notch when it came to complexity and this was most evident with the food and beer pairings we did. Be it the beer and posh toast event right through to our series of collaborations we did with our friends at Hood Restaurant, in which we managed to serve a five course menu from a ‘Chef’s Table’ setup. These were such an amazing way for us to celebrate the diversity of beer and how well it pairs with different foods.5, Beer Class
We launched our beer class back in 2016, aimed at those wanting to delve deeper into all aspects of beer. Over the past 3 years we have covered all sorts of styles and topics, from Belgian beers to IPAs, sours to porters. Hundreds of ‘beer students’ have passed through our doors over the years and it has been great fun doing it. We are most definitely planning to continue running Beer Classes at our Balham store so don’t worry if you’re yet to graduate!