It’s not an easy time to be in retail. Budgets are squeezed, and costs are up – especially gas & electricity. And until recently, businesses were particularly in the firing line as they have not benefitted from the price caps applied to householders: stories are emerging everywhere of stratospheric estimates for small traders. And even with Lavender Hill probably in a better place than most thanks to a significant number of high earners living nearby who are likely to be able to keep spending, this is hitting our traders. Case in point: No Boring Beer, who opened a year ago at 22 Lavender Hill (and who we wrote about before and after they opened). A notice now confirms that energy prices may be the straw that breaks the business’s back, with a closure date pencilled in of 24th September, mainly as the (presumably one-year-after-opening) electricity contract renewal costs just aren’t sustainable.
There may still be hope, and the team at No Boring Beer is clearly working to see what is possible. And things may be moving in a helpful direction in Government: new PM Liz Truss gave an energy announcement as part of her very first actions as Prime Minister, declaring that a new energy price cap for homes and (for the first time) businesses will be set from 1st October. This is a relief after a turbulent time that had led to business owners fearing the worst. During her speech, the new PM supported businesses and public bodies giving them the “equivalent support” to what households woudl receive for the next six months. This will still represent a sizeable cost increase for many (and what happens after the winter in six months’ time remains uncertain) – but the completely ridiculous prices we have seen small businesses being quoted in the news recently may not materialise.
In the meantime – No Boring Beer is still open and needs our support. They are a small business created by beer enthusiasts Nikita and Roman; who already ran two other shops in south London – in an arch in the square next to Deptford station, and one on Tower Bridge Road. Their beer tastes are clearly adventurous – with over 200 beers from local breweries and a large seasonal beer assortment. They’re not just selling bottled & canned beer either, with rotating draught lines in all three shops.
There’s a pretty eclectic mix of ales, lagers and ciders, and No Boring Beer has found a loyal audience in Lavender Hill. Initially one side of the lavender Hill shop was dedicated to ambient ales and wines, and the other to a large assortment of canned ales, lagers and ciders – pictured above – but the layout has evolved to give more room for tasting, as well as to create a small outdoor seating area. A selection of beers on tap is on offer to refill growlers (reusable beer bottles).
We hope a solution can be found and they can keep going – particularly as we see an ever expanding number of small local breweries, including established players Mondo and Sambrooks, and joined by the Distortion Brewing Company near Wandsworth Road station, Belleville Brewing Co at Wandsworth Common, and the very smart Battersea Brewery in the power station complex. And that’s far from the only Battersea alcoholic beverage business, with the likes of the Blackbook winery and the Doghouse Distillery both hidden away among the railways near Queenstown Road. We still plan to run a future article on these.
No Boring Beer, at 22 Lavender Hill SW11. Open in the afternoon from Wednesday to Saturday.