Taking beer to the next level

Mark Cutter in the newly opened Sun Street Bottle Shop.
Mark Cutter in the newly opened Sun Street Bottle Shop.

“I think this is something that Lancaster needs”, says Mark Cutter as he proudly displays his “beer mountain” in his new Sun Street shop.

The landlord of Lancaster’s Robert Gillow and The Lord Ashton pubs has just opened the Bottle Shop at 17 Sun Street, selling speciality beers, wines and spirits.

Mark hopes to be employing up to 10 members of staff when the business is fully operational.

Father-of-four Mark, 32, said the focus is on “high quality international diversity, working directly with breweries and suppliers”.

Cask ale has enjoyed something of a renaissance in the UK over the past few years, evidence of which can be seen on many of the bars in Lancaster.

“Even chain pubs have been forced to relax their grip on the strict beer policy, allowing a few extra lines of real ale,” said Mark.

“There are a lot of products in existence that I wanted to introduce people to. We already have 100 different types of beer here, and I wanted to introduce people to as broad a range as possible.

“It’s going to work in parallel to what we’re trying to do at The Robert Gillow, and when Sun Street became available we thought it was the perfect opportunity.”

The university researcher and trained barrister said the focus of the shop will be on things you would struggle to get anywhere else.

“The key for me is to cut out as many middle men as possible.

“There will be a small number of sit in tables as well, which will develop over time.

“We have 200 different wine varieties, 100-150 different beers, and about 100 different spirits.

“I believe that the market is there, its also a case of Lancaster being a place where people can come to look for that specialist thing.

“I’m a researcher by mentality, and I like carrying out practical experiments to see what happens.

“I’ve studied the beers that we’ve bought, and I’ve tasted the majority of them as well.

“I’m trying to keep things as niche as possible, for example, we have Bisongrass Vodka, and Chase Vodka from Hereford, there’s beer from Hardknott Brewery in Cumbria, speciality gin and rum, and Cognac from the year you were born.”

There will be an online shop in the New Year as well.

“Prices will range from £2.50 for a bottle of beer, to, for example a 1966 bottle of wine for £175.

“The staff will be clued up and happy to help,” he added.