Ale fans raise their glasses to new beer venture in Cheltenham
IT'S time for ale fans to raise their glasses – Cheltenham has a new shop selling more than 500 varieties.
Brews from around the world will go on sale at Favourite Beers today.
Businessman Leigh Norwood, from Charlton Kings, has pledged to offer the town's best range of ales to plug a gap in the market.
Leigh said: "I've been involved in beer for a few years and have run the Cheltenham Beer Festival, so I thought I would open my own shop.
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"I've always wanted to have my own beer shop. When I hit 50 I was bored with my job and all the politics involved, so decided to give it a go."
Leigh has given up a job as an aerospace and communications IT specialist to open the shop at the former Bottoms Up premises.
He plans to offer beers from Gloucestershire breweries Battledown, Festival, Prescott, Goffs, Stroud and Nailsworth.
The father-of-three, of Bafford Approach, says he will have 270 ales from the UK, 80 Belgian beers, 80 brews from the rest of the world and more than 100 ciders.
And the 50-year-old has pledged to have an "ever-changing" range.
His daughter Rosie, 20, will work alongside him at the shop.
Gloucestershire Campaign for Real Ale secretary Martin Parker said: "It's something we have needed round here for some time. To have a shop like that is welcome news and in the current climate I'm sure it will do well.
"Real ale is in the ascendancy at the moment and it's the only part of the pub sector that is growing and not shrinking.
"If he can do a really good range of quality, bottled beers that's all to the good."
Leigh has run Cheltenham Beer Festival in aid of the Samaritans for the past five years.
Last week The Cask Report 2010 revealed the real ale industry is booming.
In 2009, the value of the cask beer market increased by 5 per cent to £1.4 billion. For more details, visit www.favouritebeers.com.