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Which two Suffolk towns have welcomed new pop-up ‘beer shops’?

PUBLISHED: 19:30 28 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:05 29 September 2020

Ed Barnes of Hopsters who has just launched Hopsters Express, bringing craft beer fridges to independent shops across Suffolk  Picture: Ed Barnes

Ed Barnes of Hopsters who has just launched Hopsters Express, bringing craft beer fridges to independent shops across Suffolk Picture: Ed Barnes

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Award-nominated Hopsters from Ipswich is branching out and has launched a new initiative to bring its craft ales to locations across the region.

Hopsters Ipswich has launched Hopsters Express, selling craft beer in fridges at independent shops across Suffolk. One of the first shops to join the scheme is Saltpeter on New Street in Woodbridge  Picture: Ed BarnesHopsters Ipswich has launched Hopsters Express, selling craft beer in fridges at independent shops across Suffolk. One of the first shops to join the scheme is Saltpeter on New Street in Woodbridge Picture: Ed Barnes

The owner of a popular craft beer shop in Ipswich has just launched an initiative to bring some of the finest real ales in Great Britain to other towns and villages in Suffolk.

Ed Barnes, who runs Hopsters in Ipswich (and Chelmsford), and organised the revived Ipswich Beer Festival at the Corn Exchange in 2019, unveiled Hopsters Express in Felixstowe and Woodbridge last week.

“I like to do something new every year,” he says, “and the idea was to put a fridge where you couldn’t put a shop. There are a lot of craft beer drinkers in the area, and while some towns and villages perhaps can’t sustain a full beer shop, they could sustain a fridge, I thought. The idea is to put these fridges in independent stores to support them – especially now when the high street needs them.”

Fridges have been installed at Saltpeter Wines on New Street in Woodbridge, and at Cuppa on High Road West, Felixstowe, with plans for an additional 10 to 12 fridges to pop up across East Anglia in the next year.

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“I’m really excited about this,” adds Ed. “We met these people and said ‘of course we want to work with them’. They are running wonderful shops and we can create something that complements everything they’re doing. The fridges look right in their businesses – they belong. And they’re hitting the same target market, giving customers something fresh and exciting.”

Between 25 and 30 different types of beer are available at each location, with stock changing regularly as Ed returns every three weeks to remove every remaining can, replacing them all. “It won’t be a case of having the same beers as a month ago – they will completely change all the time. And, actually, a lot of the beers going into these fridges won’t even be in our main shops, they will be exclusive. For example, I just put in three types of Verdant. They are the kings of real ale at the moment. It’s wonderful to be able to bring the best beer there is to these other places in Suffolk.”

Brands currently in stock, in addition to Verdant, include Cloudwater, Suffolk’s own Burnt Mill, Pressure Drop and Left-Handed Giant from Bristol.

As for Ipswich Beer Festival...while it is cancelled this year, Ed says he’s already booked the Corn Exchange for the last weekend of September in both 2021 and 2022. “We cannot wait to get back!”


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