Beer lovers brew up new city business

TWO beer lovers are on a mission to bring specialist brews to Glasgow.

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Derek Hoy, 32, and Alec Knox, 31, were so frustrated with the city's beer scene they decided to launch their own business.

It took a year of planning but the pair finally opened Hippo Beers, the city's first speciality beer shop, in the West End on Friday.

The store will sell hundreds of different kinds of craft beers, ranging from Scottish brands, such as Brewdog, to European and American beers from quirky independent breweries.

Derek, who is from Easterhouse but now lives in the South Side of Glasgow, said: "Myself and Alec both got a bit frustrated at the beer scene in Glasgow.

"There wasn't enough choice and we didn't find the beer we wanted to drink, so we thought there was a gap in the market.

"Since our early 20s we cottoned on to the fact there's a lot of beers out there. We tried to sample as many different ones as we could.

"We are passionate about beer and with this shop we want to showcase as many styles as possible and show how different beer can be."

Glasgow City Council worker Derek has decided to juggle his job as a monitoring officer with the running of the shop.

However, Alec, originally from Kilwinning in Ayrshire, has left his post as a transport planning consultant to pursue the dream full-time.

Derek said: "We thought the current day job wasn't doing it enough for us.

"We are both completely new to retail apart from a couple of part-time jobs in our student years and are also completely new to the drinks industry.

"It hasn't been easy and there have been some tough times along the way, but we've always believed in what we are trying to do – especially as the craft brewing industry has gone from strength to strength."

The business duo picked the West End to open their store – at the site of a former off-licence at 128 Queen Margaret Drive – because they thought it would fit in with the community.

They opened their store with help from Business Gateway and managed to secure a bank loan.

Derek said: "We thought about where we should set it up for a long time. We always wanted it to be the West End because we thought it would be popular there and wanted a premise with a licence already in it.

"We share a row of shops with some quirky and interesting independent businesses who are all looking to offer something different."

But their ambitions don't stop with selling bottled beer.

They hope to install draught beer if they get a licence from the council, so that people can take it away.

Derek said: "Beer tastes different from a draught than from a bottle, it's a different experience.

"What we want to do in the future is install a couple of draught lines.

"Once we get a licence for that we'll put that straight in.

"We want to eventually do beer tasting with groups, which include people who might not think they like beer.

"We think we'll be able to change their mind and show that it isn't always about traditional beer."

rachel.loxton@heraldandtimes.co.uk

Food and drink

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