Macclesfield Bottle Shop & Taproom celebrates 2nd birthday amid adapting their business for the pandemic

  Posted: 18.03.21 at 19:52 by Alexander Greensmith

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A Macclesfield specialist beer seller is celebrating two years of business and have shared how they weathered the financial impact of the pandemic.

R&G’s Beer Vault, located at 2 Market Place, is named after their co-owner's initials, Rosie Fryer, 37 and Greg Start, 38.

The two left London jobs to pursue their passion in beer and now live in Macc. The married couple opened their bottle shop and taproom in April 2019.

The pair quit their comfortable careers after immersing themselves in beer culture on their honeymoon in America, and realising it was what they really wanted to do.

Rosie, who used to work in science, said: “We already loved beer, that was part of why we liked each other as well. But we got married and then saw less of each other, in jobs nothing to do with beer, in a big impersonal city. So, we thought it’s time to change.

“We had plenty of friends and family around Cheshire, it just seemed like an obvious choice to us.

R&G’s Beer Vault is located on the site of a former health food store. Older Maxonian’s may remember the site used to be a TSB Bank, which is alluded to with the ‘Vault’ part of their business name.

“It allowed us to pursue our passion in one of the most friendliest, co-operative and community-oriented industries out there.”

Greg said: “As much as we enjoyed our former professions, we wanted to do something that was ours.”

In addition to their second birthday, the business has now been trading longer under COVID-19 restrictions than they had pre-COVID.

The shop & taproom had always sold beer on tap to take home, or drink in. However, when the restraints of the pandemic closed the taproom for months, the majority of their income for the 2nd year came from their loyal customers buying beers to be drunk at home.

Greg added: “We always planned to offer a delivery service or click and collect in our second year, but we just brought that forward by a few months when we saw that there was going to be a national lockdown.”

Rosie added: “We appreciate the fact that although we didn’t see the pandemic coming, we actually already had a business model that you could adapt accordingly without altering it completely.

“Because we are a shop, but we have an on licence. So being able to just shut down half of it, and then continue trading, that was a really important thing for us.

“Because besides earning a living, it's still about bringing great beer to people.”

As thanks for their customers’ support during the first lockdown, in August and September R&G’s Beer Vault launched a six-week ‘Take Out to Help Out Scheme’, as a way of giving back to their clientele.

The small business would take 15% off any purchases of takeaway beers, despite this scheme not being subsidised by the government, as they do not serve food.

Also, in their second year, R&G’s Beer Vault has launched a monthly subscription mixed beer box to get customers trying new types of beer.

But they look forward to properly celebrating their businesses’ birthday in safer and less unpredictable times.

Rosie said: “Looking back over our 2 years, we’ve had nearly 500 different beers on draft from a range of breweries and at any one point we always aim to have over 300 unique beers on the shelf.

“We very quickly learned that customers in Macclesfield enjoy a range of styles on tap at all times, especially dark beers and sours.”

The half-shop, half-taproom can seat up to forty people. But before the UK was sent into the third lockdown, they were only serving at less than 50% capacity for the safety of their customers.

Their taproom previously employed three other staff and will look to fill these roles once again when re-opening from May.

Their range of beers, which go from the more traditional styles to zany flavours such as Raspberry Jam Doughnut Pale Ale and Pineapple & Ginger Beer IPA, can be viewed on Untappd.

Further details on re-opening fully will be posted on their website in due course.

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