Beer Ritz has been a shop selling beer in Far Headingley for coming close to twenty years now.. That's older than most breweries.. Well all the "crafty" ones anyway. We've moved with the times we like to think, but have remained relatively unchanged in what we deliver to our customers.
We brought Belgian and European beers into the heart of Leeds before it became cool. We started to stock Brewdog beers when they first opened way back when, and still do regardless of their "punk" rhetoric. We saw the mass importation of American hop forward beers, and subsequent following of style from British brewers. We've seen duty rises, brewery openings and even the unfortunate closures.. Hell, we nearly even closed ourselves, and would have if it wasn't for a man who's just as passionate about beer as I, if not more so.
The fact is that we've seen a LOT in this industry, and I can personally maintain that we've always given the customer what they really want... Beer.
It's no secret that over the past few years there has been a flourish of specialist beer shops opening around the UK over the past 2/3 years. More than a couple on our city doorstep as well. Now I'd never say this is a bad thing, in fact we're loving the competition!
The thing that interests me though is what the shops deliver. While these shops have good beer selections (some better than others) I've personally found that there's a lot of extra things to be bought in said establishments. Things like beer T-shirts with the shops logo printed upon. Beer mats in the similar ilk, carrier bags too.. it seems like it doesn't matter what beer you've bought as long as everyone knows where you bought it from!
Don't get me wrong, of course getting the word out there is important for business - so I guess the open question here is, do you think Beer Ritz is missing a trick buy not having lots of personalised merchandise?