Leeds is great for a Beer, as you probably know. Pubs and Bars galore serving up all manner of treats for the thirsty foam fanatic. However, we all have those responsibilities and reasons for being called away from the Bar and back home before Beer O’Clock strikes, and it’s in these instances that that Leeds City Centre has limited options for those looking to stock on supplies for the Craft-inclined.
Exciting news then, with the emergence of Tall Boys Beer Market and their plans to establish a specialist Beer Shop in Thornton’s Arcade. Located at the upper end of Briggate, passing through to Lands Lane, the ornate Arcade is home to other independent retailers such as OK Comics and Chimp, and is one of Leeds’ hidden shopping attractions, nestling between the more brash commercial surrounds.
In order to get the lowdown on what might be in store, I dropped a line to Tall Boys for a quick chat.
Firstly, can you tell me a bit about your background to start off with – have you been involved with any previous/related ventures, or worked for any other beer-related businesses?
Tall Boys Beer Market is an independent bottle shop opening in Leeds City Centre. We are Ben, Cody and Nick and collectively have around 20 years experience in pubs, bars, music venues and festivals around Yorkshire.
Why have you chosen to start the business? Will you have a particular focus for the shop (e.g local beer/a specialism in beer from any particular overseas locations), or will you be looking to stock a wide range of Beer from a variety of sources?
We aren’t going to pretend you can’t already get a good beer in Leeds, we believe that we have some of the best bars in the country and that Leeds is at the forefront of exciting new food and drink offerings. But people’s desire for good beer is continuously growing and we can provide an alternative to your standard city centre off-license and a more affordable option than a bar. Our range will consist of the best brews from around the UK and the rest of the world and we’ll have growler fills, monthly beer parties and an online store too.
We will aim to have an ever-expanding range of different beers from all over the world, but one of the most important things we want to achieve is a customer-curated range. If the people that buy with us are getting excited about American craft brews, we’ll stock them, but if they want more locally brewed ales, then we will gear the list towards that. We want it to be collaborative. The shop will also have a number of draught beer options available in growlers, which we are really keen to be bringing to Leeds at an affordable price.
With a strong lineup of specialist retailers in the Arcades, how you you see your position in relation to other shops and businesses in the area?
Fortunately, we’ve already got a great relationship with lots of local independents, and the support we’ve had so far has certainly been encouraging. We’ve worked with a lot of the good bars and breweries in Leeds already but it’s been great to see other sorts of businesses rallying behind us, such as Village Bookstore and Laynes Espresso. We’ve also been working with Awesome Merch and we are super excited to have Leeds based illustrator, Idiots Pasture on board.
With an established business such as Beer Ritz in the suburbs and the prospect of Brewdog converting their current bar in to a Bottledog branch, you’ve got some tough competition! Do you anticipate hosting events and tastings?
We think Beer Ritz is great, but we want to give Leeds a city centre option. As for anyone else opening, there could be ten more around the corner, but we’ve identified the need for a good beer shop in town and we’re just excited about that for now.
Within the shop we have two floors to play with. We have some exciting plans for the first floor in the future, but for the time being it’s going to be a drink-in beer café for our monthly events.
Do you have an anticipated opening date yet?
We haven’t released our opening date just yet, but it’s sooner than you’d think, so follow us on twitter, facebook and instagram (@tallboysleeds) to stay updated!
So, very soon the Beer Geeks of Leeds will have another location to congregate and converse within. A dedicated beer shop in the City Centre will be a welcome addition and once they open, I’ll be straight there to check what’s on offer. I just hope I can keep a lid on the Growler until I get home, otherwise I’ll find myself on the Tall Bloke’s Job Market…