Cave Direct is set to open its first pub — The Beer Merchants Tap — in Hackney Wick, London, in January. To help fund the project, it’s running a crowdfunding scheme that offers people £2 to spend in the tap for every £1 invested.
Fifteen years after closing its tiny bottle shop in London to focus on distribution, it will open the doors of an old book store right by Hackney Wick station.
The 3,000 sq ft site will be an industrial but comfortable space with a large beer garden, encompassing a taproom, bottleshop and Belgian sour blendery.
The pub side of the site will be dedicated to the best beer from around the world, with more than 20 keg lines and cask, bringing in Cave’s core portfolio of Paulaner and Kona, as well as rotational lines from its Belgian, British, Norwegian and American range.
The Tap will also work as a physical extension of the online shop, Beer Merchants, allowing customers to pick
up online orders free of charge and buy beer to drink in or take away. There will be more than 700 beers available in the fridges, as well as a bottle-ageing project hidden away for scheduled releases.
Finally, over the next few years Cave will be starting a barrel-ageing and blending project, taking spontaneous beer from the UK and abroad, then ageing it themselves to create Belgian-influenced sour beers, available only from the Tap.
The site will also work as a school of excellence in beer serving and cellarmanship, offering training to Cave Direct trade customers in both sommelier skills and cellar management. It will also provide a venue for trade meetings and tastings.
Managing director, Colin Gilhespy, said: “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, 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.”
The crowdfunding, which launches today, aims to raise at least £50,000 towards fitting out the building. Members can pledge between £50 and £1,000, and in return will get double that on a gift card to spend in the pub, as well as 5% off at BeerMerchants.com for life.
Colin added: “The more we raise, the less we will have rely on the banks to fund the project, but the pub will open whatever total we hit.”
To find out more, visit the Crowdfunder page