Couple’s love of good beers turns into well run business venture

Gill Thompson with her husband Alan and a basic home brew kit ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (160906-5345)
Gill Thompson with her husband Alan and a basic home brew kit ''Picture: Malcolm Wells (160906-5345)
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It started off as a hobby.

But now a couple have turned their passion for brewing beer into a successful business.

Alan Thompson, 48, and his wife Gill, 50, decided to open up their own brewing shop in Elm Grove, Southsea, called, where people could buy kits and equipment to make their own ale.

They got the venture off the ground in November 2014 and have gone from strength to strength ever since. The couple had recently returned to England after living in Australia for 16 years.

Rather than returning to their corporate jobs, they instead decided to start a business that would allow them to do what they love every day.

‘We didn’t want to do serious jobs any more,’ said Alan, from Cumbria.

‘It’s much more fun than having a proper job.’

Thanks to their online presence, the company is now selling products online and has sold kits all across Europe. offers kits for those getting into brewing to those who are clued up on what to do, meaning there is something on offer for anyone interested in brewing their own beer or wine.

As well as the kits, they also sell brewing aids, books and cleaning equipment. Many of their customers have also become friends.

Being members of their local homebrew club, a social club for people who enjoy brewing, has meant they have become friends with many of the customers who come into their shop.

Rather than being a challenge, the couple actually found opening their shop to be almost stress-free.

‘It’s been easy,’ said Alan. ‘We get to do our hobby every day. It’s what we enjoy and it’s fun.’

However, a challenge they are facing is that it’s difficult to take time off work.

Running their own business means they can’t easily bring people in to take over if they want to take time off.

When they opened, many customers were asking for products they didn’t have.

‘It’s meant that we’ve had to increase our range of stock dramatically in response to what our customers want,’ said Alan.

The couple hope to continue this trend by expanding the range of kits available.

It comes as a study looking at British drinking habits found people are becoming more selective in the beer they drink following a rise in the popularity of craft-brewed beer. More than nine out of 10 are interested in learning about different styles of beer, and two-thirds want to know more about the ingredients.