The best shops for hops
There’s been an explosion in independent craft breweries in London in recent years. Craft beer, according to reports such as this one, is considered to be one of the fastest growing products in the food and drink sector. The youthful sector’s explosive growth has rested on two important factors: quality, distinctive beer, first of all, but also a sharp, individual approach to design.
Here at ICON, we’ve worked with a number of breweries and bottle shops to create custom merch, so we’re well acquainted with the eye-catching designs and branding of the London beer scene. (For more on branding, head here for our top tips on nailing brand identity; and head here for our guide to the best creative agencies in London). For us, a well-crafted logo on a screen-printed t-shirt is just as satisfying as a freshly pulled pint of IPA, and we’ve been grateful to be approached by breweries with some of our favourite examples of beer-related design.
Plus, there is another reason that this design discipline is worthy of greater attention. Along with the rise in breweries, there a growing number of places to buy and sample independently brewed craft beer – be that dedicated bottle shops, tap rooms in breweries, or shops which are a bit of both. To us, they’re a bar-cum-exhibition space of the highest order.
Here’s our guide to some of the craft beer shops and taprooms pairing stellar brews with eye-catching visual identities.
Mother Kelly’s, who ICON have worked with to create awesome tote bags, is so popular it can’t stop expanding. Starting out in the humble railway arches of Bethnal Green, Mother Kelly’s holds five different sites across the city, blending tap room and bottle shop in Vauxhall, Stratford, Well Street and Church Street. Inspired by the New York scene, customers are encouraged to peruse the staggering selection of simcoes and IPAs, with London’s best street food vendors pairing up with the Bethnal Green site to serve hungry customers Thursday – Sunday. Check out some of the finest beers from Sweden’s Bibliotek in store, the author’s personal favourite.
Moving from the garden shed to Walthamstow, ICON client Pillars Brewery has a taproom exclusive craft lagers on regular rotation and shit-hot street food pop-ups in residence. Trying to rebrand lager’s lukewarm image, the four brewers hope to “push the boundaries of a beer style that has been neglected for centuries.” Chat to one of the lads about your beer wisdom, and peruse their cans to take away.
With stores in Brixton and Putney, Ghost Whale has made an impressive business out of its bottle shops. Curating an ever evolving stock list of over 400 beers and ciders in both stores, the boozer boasts the best in Oskar Blues, Evil Twin and local heroes Verdant, as well as keeping the more Belgian-based brews of craft beer provenance in the game. Fill a growler to take your beers away, or sit in the small gardens at the back of the bottle shops.
Hop Burns & Black
Many Deptfordians on a mission have been halted in their tracks by Hop Burns and Black. The small but supreme bottle shop offering has a stunning UK selection of beers, with several limited edition Cloudwater, Northern Monk and Buxton cans to go. Alongside fridges of American offerings, the shop has a loyalty card scheme for regular customers, who can earn some serious dollar off their up and coming purchases.
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Not so Hidden any more – kicking off today's new arrivals, an absolutely banging DDH DIPA from Germany's @fraugruber_brewing. Rise & shine! . . . . #hiddenbeauty #fraugruber #craftbeer #beersofhbb #instabeer #beersofinstagram #beerme #beergeek #lovebeer #beerlovers #craftbeerlover #cheersguys #beeroclock #beertography #beerstagram #beeroftheday #riseandshine
Art & Craft
Put down the crayola, Art & Craft in Streatham isn’t what its name suggests. The bottle shop owned by Ink Spot brewery. As well as offerings from the London-based brewery itself, the shop over 500 London and international craft beers from independent breweries, ranging from saisons, dubbles, blondes and pales. Sample what’s on the taps and journey down to the site in The Rookery, Streatham, where you can drink a brew in the meadows that surround it.
Waterintobeer is arguably the most original bottle shop in London. Inspired by owner Tim’s love of the punk music scene and a name of a fanzine he co-created in Leeds in 2002, Tim hopes to make the process of making beer as democratic as possible – and prove so many of us have the potential to create a decent pint. Alongside the impressive offerings on sale, the bottle shop offers homebrew ingredients for budding brewers, with a range of hops, malts and beer making kits in stock.
Clapton would not be Clapton without a premier bottle shop to its name. Recognised by its friendly bear logo, the craft brewer has stores across Finsbury Park, Walthamstow, Kentish Town, Forest Hill, and you guessed it – Clapton.
The brewers sell a wide range of local, UK and imported beer in bottle, as well as in growlers and PETs which we fill from eight rotating taps. Choose from Howling Hops collabs and Gypsy Hill’s finest to settle yourself in.
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Mega Lager cans & kegs for tomorrow night’s launch party in Finsbury Park have arrived along with a full pallet of @lostandgroundedbrewers that includes two more collabs, a gose with @burntmillbrewery & @whiplashbeer & a DIPA with @trackbrewingco & @fuerstwiacekbrew. Kicking things of at 6pm tomorrow, full details via the link in bio 🧨🔥 . . . . #craftbeer #craftcans #bristolbeer #londonbeer #beercollab #megalager #launchparty #finsburypark #n4 #claptoncraft #instabeer #beerstagram #craftbeerlife #craftnotcrap #cheers
Wild and Lees
Found on the poetically named Half Moon Lane in Herne Hill, Wild + Lees says their beer collection changes faster than they can update their website. Expect regular appearances from Beavertown, Moor, Verdant and Cloudwater, to name a few. Punters are strictly encouraged to stay and have a drink while watching SE24 do its thing at the shop’s cosy window counter.
Want to create merch for your craft brewery or bottle shop? ICON Printing offer fast turnaround printing on a range of garments, counting clients such as Pillars, Mother Kelly’s and Meantime. Get a quote in 2 minutes online.