Retailers

I’m sure there will be regional variations, but these comments are based on my local area.

ALDI – Very limited stock, although they do seasonal promotions, such as Wychwood Dunkel Fester and Wychwood Pumpking nearing Halloween.

ASDA – They have a wide range of generally available beer. ASDA often have 4 bottles for £5 so it is a good/cheap starting point to commence your beer journey. Their range rarely changes.

CO-OP – Very limited stock which rarely changes. I know that there are regional variations as I visited The Co-op in Bakewell (known for those tasty tarts or puddings) and found a really good selection of beers which weren’t available in my local store. If you’re in a new town, look out for the Co-op to pick up a few local ales.

LIDL – I have no local store, so I’m unable to comment on their range.

MORRISONS – This store recently opened in the area, and on the few visits I have made, there have been limited changes in the range of beers offered. However, this could offer a good starting point for your beer journey.

MARKS AND SPENCER – Not a place I would have considered looking for beers. However, this proved to be a diamond in the rough. The Metrocentre store is one of five M&S sites identified as a flagship store for beers. The staff have an interest in, and knowledge of, the beers that they sell, which is unique to a large retailer. They stock a huge range of beers which changes on a regular basis.

SAINSBURYS – Wide range of generally available beers, and they rarely change their stock. Be aware of ordering online – some beers are listed by name only, and don’t mention the brewer, while others are listed by brewer and the beer name. Others are listed as Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference and don’t mention the beer or brewer.

TESCO – As with the other national supermarket chains, they have a wide range of generally available beers. Unlike the other stores, changes ARE made to the range of beers stocked so worth a visit every quarter. Be aware of the expiry dates on the beer, as I have been caught out several times assuming the beer on the shelf is in date.

WAITROSE – A relatively small range of generally available beers, which rarely changes.

SPECIALIST BEER SHOPS – These hyper-local stores spring up around the UK and are well worth visiting. The staff are knowledgeable and very interested in what they sell, knowing their customers and their tastes/preferences. They will also keep aside limited supply beers for regular customers, so worth utilising on your own personal journeys. My local specialist store is Coppers, in Gosforth – look out for them in your local area.