DRINK Biggleswade craft beer business celebrates first anniversary
'We'd like to say a massive thank you to everyone for their support since we opened. It's been really overwhelming'
A Biggleswade business is celebrating its one-year anniversary after surviving the pandemic and serving up delicious beverages.
DRINK Biggleswade, Station Road, opened on October 27 2020 and is the town's first craft beer tasting room and bottle shop.
Its founders have been "overwhelmed" by the support of residents, and have enjoyed getting to know their customers and organising community events.
Talking about their anniversary, Sarah Stilwell, business owner, said: "We're buzzing, really really happy, considering all the hurdles we had to overcome and then the pandemic on top of that.
"We have come out of that really well and we're really excited to see what the next five years hold. We have met so many nice people in the community."
She added: "We were a bit nervous about opening because it can take up to six months to get a lease on a property. However, we were quite confident with selling as the government had deemed beer essential, so during the lockdowns we could stay open as an off licence.
"It was a relief when the restrictions eased and it brought a bit of a buzz back because we could have people in to drink. We'd got to know our regulars who came in every week to buy beer, so it was like having your friends round in your lounge!"
Sarah, along with her co-founder and partner, Adam Fitton, were both working professionals before starting their craft beer business, with Sarah based in healthcare and Adam in the kitchen industry.
However, it would be their love of globe-trotting that would inspire them to bite the bullet and set up shop.
Sarah said: "We'd done a lot of travelling together around the world - we love Japan and Korea - and we'd always scout out the latest tap room and beer shop, saying 'wouldn't this be great if we could open up something where we live?' So we thought, why don't we do it?
"DRINK Biggleswade is based on one in Copenhagen called 'Brus' - it's very much the 'Scandi' clean wood look. It's more feminine - some can be quite male-orientated."
Indeed, their craft beer business attracts people of all ages, from young professionals to couples looking to make new friends.
Sarah and Adam have helped the community to bond by organising different activities - from litter picking to group runs.
Their litter-pick on September 12 saw townsfolk collect 10 bags of litter in just under one hour, before having a well-deserved half price beer at DRINK Biggleswade.
Meanwhile, their exercise group - 'Run 2 Drink' - has proved successful, attracting both keen runners and newbies, with their furthest trip a 12 mile run to a beer shop in Hitchin.
Sarah said: "We wanted to be more than just a beer shop and integrate with the community. We wanted to give a little back to the town and be proud of where we live.
"It's amazing what can be achieved when we all get together and we would like to run more of these events."
Back to the beverage side of things, and Sarah and Adam take pride in selling specialist, small batch beers from across the country and even Europe.
The drinks are sold straight from the fridge or tap, as the beers have quite a short shelf life, and chilling the alcohol helps to keep it fresh for longer and ensures the hops are more intense.
Sarah explained: "The beer is made by tiny breweries with the freshest ingredients, rather than mass produced by large scale machinery.
"As well as the fridges, we have six taps that always change, so come down and try some of our beers. We're 98% craft beer with a small section of real ale.
"We've got pale ale, IPAs, stouts, sour beers, fruity beers - if you've never tried it before we can certainly recommend you something."
She concluded: "We'd like to say a massive thank you to everyone for their support since we opened. It's been really overwhelming."
To celebrate their first anniversary, DRINK Biggleswade is holding a private tasting with Double-Barrelled Brewery on October 28, while from October 29 to 31 there will be a 'tap takeover' from Double-Barrelled Brewery.
Sarah and Adam are planning more litter-picking events in the future and would like to thank Biggleswade Town Council for the use of its litter-pickers.
Run 2 Drink meets on every second and third Tuesday of the month to run 5k around the town.
To book tickets for the private tasting and keep up to date with the latest events, visit: https://www.drinkbiggleswade.co.uk/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drinkbiggleswadeInstagram: @drinkbiggleswade