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Unexpected Benefit of Covid - More Beer Choice?

We met some friends at a new farm shop and cafe today. Basically in order find new revenue streams Losely Park have renovated farm buildings and there will soon be a restaurant, bakery and butchers. They also had a range from various local breweries, albeit no new ticks.

But similarly various local garden centres have expanded their farm shops and where previously you’d be limited to Hogs Back beers a couple are even stocking beers from the likes of Siren and Phantom.

Are other people finding this or is it a stockbroker belt phenomenon?


Do you mean more choice in garden centres specifically or more choice in shops generally?

Garden centres and farm shops specifically. A few new ones have opened up around here in recent months and existing ones have been expanded… as has the beer selection.

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round here definitely not. Some new beer shops have opened but I doubt that’s ‘because of’ covid. locally choice is down as the best pubs for ever-changing beer range are yet to reopen. Not found any ‘non beer’ venues introducing/expanding beer range

Went for my jab this afternoon. So another benefit was the fact that the centre in Woking was next to a Brazilian grocery store which I’d never noticed before. It stocks 8 or so Brazilian (and Portuguese beers. Picked up a few expecting them to be lagers but one turned out to be an Export Stout.


Being a flat dweller near a city centre I haven’t been to a garden centre in a while, sounds like I should. Sometimes we can find good beer in less likely places so it’s always worth a look.

For the most part I’ve seena decrease in beer choice due to COVID but I suppose that’s understandable…

I’ve been looking in different places for new beers since Covid, one local Garden Centre had a huge selection, but it seems to have tailed off since they changed everything around for a new look. SPAR shop’s, Co-Op’s and Eastern European stores have served me well, but I’ve exhausted these options now. Bigger supermarket chains have also seen me scouring their shelves and I’ve found a bit of joy in some of those.

I wasn’t a regular internet buyer of beer, as I got my new rates in pubs usually, or at our monthly beer tasting sessions. That is what’s changed for me, using web pages to order from, or finding cheapo stuff in local shops.


A girl I went to school with has opened a craft shop five minutes drive from my house, so my choice has gone through the roof!


Link ? I can get to Stourbridge …

https://thehopvault.com/ it’s right in the town centre, it’s probably a 5 min walk from Stourbridge Town train station.

Less beer choice in the pubs, that’s for sure. One of my locals has stopped carrying guests and another has lowered their beer count from 9 to 3. I’m on my second pub of the evening and I’ve had to go know Old Mout ciders to get more than one rate.

Hopefully that will improve in May, and again in June, and not all pubs have reduced choice, but it’s tough going right now!

Is one of these a Black Country Ales pub ? Titanic pubs seemed to have stopped doing guest ales since Lockdown 1, but I assume they aren’t in your area

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In Sheffield we’re doing ok in pubs, on keg at least. T be pubs that are open mostly have all theirkeg lines on, though cask lines are generally around 50% in use. Was much the same last summer.

Interestingly most keg beers were changing at least weekly, whereas when I went to Leeds most places had around half their keg lines on, and 2 weeks later most lines hadn’t changed (unless they had duplicate kegs, but seems odd to run duplicates consecutively)

Yes, there are two Black Country pubs in Leicester. One has kept business as normal (their range has gotten a bit more conservative but they’re still keeping the normal 8 or so) but the other is utilising an outside bar with only 3 handpumps. The upside to this is that turnover is quick, so it isn’t a place for a session but rather a stop off for 1 or 2 on the way home. The next day or two they’ll have a completely different range.

My last post sounded a bit churlish and perhaps I shouldn’t complain about individual places. After the last year, they need as much business as possible without making life hell for their staff. We lost a lot of pubs in Leicester in 2019, so I’m happy for pubs to do whatever they can to survive in the short to medium term. It will just change the way I rate beer when I’m out.

You mean before lockdown ? Interesting.

I’m compiling the reopening information for local (South Cheshire) CAMRA and (out of about 200) there were only 2 (very dodgy) venues that have deifnitely closed due to lockdown. About a dozen others didn’t reopen after lockdown 1, but some have allready reopened recently, and the others are expected to. Just over 50% already reopened, aother 25% to reopen on 17th, and the rest are “not telling”. We’ve been very lucky.

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Yeah, out of the 8 or 10 best beer venues in the city we lost 3 in the matter of a couple of months in early 2019. One is reopening at some point as a Dhillon’s pub but obviously COVID delayed that. A second one reopened as a Doom Bar type pub and the third reopened as a crap pub, then a steakhouse, then nothing.

I would say so. In the city we don’t have a lot of beer gardens so I’d say we have about 30% opening, and some of those are only two tables outside. Lots of pubs here are waiting for May even if they have a big enough garden. Not worth the hassle for the reduced revenue I guess.

I would say so. In the city we don’t have a lot of beer gardens so I’d say we have about 30% opening, and some of those are only two tables outside. Lots of pubs here are waiting for May even if they have a big enough garden. Not worth the hassle for the reduced revenue I guess

I’d say that’s roughly parallel to here… Most of our top tier bars & pubs aren’t open as they mostly have small gardens if any, and even the likes of the Shakespeare who have a decent size garden worked out that with the reduced capacity combined with increased staff requirement it would be hard to operate profitably even when ‘full’, and of course you’re at the mercy of the weather, from what i gather most places were empty on Monday, and for all anyone knew we may have had five weeks of monsoon

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Being quite a green, leafy city you would imagine that Oxford would be good for gardens, but no, very few indeed, all the green space tends to belong to the college’s. Fortunately the council have shut off some roads and allowed some lucky pubs to have tables outside. Very little in the way of interesting beers but good for people watching.


My local is a Black Country Ales pub and they’ve got two guests on, rather than the usual 8ish, but their garden is quite small. The other local one I’ve been to had four guests on, but their garden has a much higher capacity.

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