What’s on the menu – building a #WorldClass beer list

Building a killer beer list might seem like a dream job for any beer lover but ask most bar managers and you’ll find that it’s a hell of a lot harder than it might seem. Picking a bunch of beers which you know are amazing is a good place to start, no? But if you’ve got a business to run then it could be dangerous to think that everyone is going to buy the same beers you like. Then there’s figuring out the right pricing, the value of world class beer is getting more complicated all the time and conventional rules of thumb can often be turned on their head.
We’ve always led the charge when it comes to bringing over the most ambitious and exquisite beers the world has to offer. Although this doesn’t mean that core range beers don’t deserve their place in the #ColdChain experience. It’s true to say that one of the big reasons we’ve gone to the lengths we have, to provide a fully refrigerated beer distribution service, is that the beer we sell is of extremely high value to both us and our customers. So we decided that it would be amazing if we could introduce a range of super solid core beers which would benefit from the same treatment too. And so the {Essentials} range was born.

The great thing with our essentials range is that is works so well in a wide range of venues, from theatre bars to restaurants and cafes. Which means that world class beer is becoming more widely available and easier to find. And our customers know that it’s not the same ambient ‘craft beer’ which is popping up in your local M&S. Of course it’s easy to criticise core range beers which are sweating away on supermarket shelves but one thing is for sure. People want core beers and they want them everywhere. So giving them the #ColdChain treatment seems only right.


I often build beer lists with customers and the essentials range is becoming, well … essential. We all know that new beers sell quickly but great beers which deserve to be drank all year round should never be underestimated, so the essentials is always a great place to start. The other brilliant thing with essentials beers is that they can hit the sweet spot when it comes to GP so they are a perfect choice for high volume taps. With a range of 20+ kegs and 50+ cans and bottles, the essentials was always intended to be a solution for customers who want a one stop shop for a small but carefully selected range of beers so all the classic styles are covered. The big hitters are no great surprise, The Kernel’s Table Beer, Pressure Drop’s Pale Fire and Redchurch Lager are always a safe bet but we have had a lot of love for some of the lesser known breweries too. Blackbird from Pig & Porter has been a solid Dry Stout all winter and Bohem’s Amos Pilsner has really cleaned up in the lager category. Two of our most in demand essentials bottled beers, which seem to make it on to most menus are Westerham’s Gold Rush and Big Drop’s Lager. It goes to show that well made gluten free and alcohol free beers are an essential addition to pretty much any beer list these days and these breweries have really nailed it.

We always think that putting a beer list together is a bit like making a cake. So essentials beers have got the big old tin of sponge taken care of but there’s still some room for some icing on there right? This is where we call ‘Magic Bullet beers’ come in to play. OK so you’re not going to sell a keg in an hour but these are the beers which really make the room go ‘WOW’ every time they are cracked open. Unlike the essentials we can’t promise these will always be in stock but we will always try and get as much as we can when we can. Beer like Great Divide’s Yeti, Dry and Bitter’s Dank and Juicy, Belching Beaver’s Peanut Butter Milk Stout and Modern Times’s Blazing World to name but a few. Beers which give total confidence that you’re drinking a category defining classic in the same condition it left the brewery. That’s what Magic Bullets are all about.

Of course no cake is complete without some sprinkles too. And nobody does sprinkles like the BottleShop. Those barrel-aged beauties and mixed-fermentation masterpieces which really push the boat out that little bit further. The beer we’ve got on our bomber menu will truly be the sprinkles on the cake. We’re talking about Jackie O’s Orange Crates, Modern Times’ Monster’s Park and Jester King’s Snorkel. There’s never been a better time to stock up on your sprinkles either as February sees the launch of our inaugural Bomber Sale. Fill your boots!

Get in touch with our Wholesale Team here

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