A PAIR of creative professionals have given up the rat-race to embark on a craft beer adventure.

Nick Vardy and Jack Creegan are preparing to open Bison Beer Crafthouse – the city’s first shop dedicated to craft beer.

It will stock more than 300 varieties, including hoppy pale ales, stouts, porters and wheat beer, from Sussex microbreweries and other sources around the world.

The business aims to harness the growing popularity of craft beer, which has seen specialist pubs Brighton Bier Dispensary, The Urchin and The Hare and Hounds open over the last year.

As well as stocking hundreds of beers, customers will be able to get plastic glassfuls from the in-store keg to take to the beach.

They will also sell 1.9 litre ‘growlers’ – glass flagons which can be filled and sealed and keep for six weeks.

Jack is a former TV producer for UEFA while Nick was a creative manager of a sports media company – but both became fed up with living in or commuting to London.

Jack said: “We were best mates and wanted to do something together that we were both passionate and interested in. There’s something like 63 microbreweries in Sussex alone and a lot of really creative people making really nice beer but with nowhere to sell it.

“Our whole thing is to promote good beer – not drinking to get drunk.

“There’s been a real shift in attitudes towards drinking, especially among the younger generation. It’s seen as something to taste and enjoy - a conversation point.”

Nick said: “Life is so short you’ve got to really enjoy what you’re doing. This is about doing something for ourselves “We started developing the concept in October and thought doors would shut on us and that it would be much more difficult. But everyone’s been incredibly supportive and helpful.”

The East Street shop is being furnished with reclaimed and recycled materials and customers will be able to try before they buy.

A ‘meet the brewer’ evening is being planned at the shop while an upcoming brew-school is in the pipeline at neighbouring pub Fishbowl.

There will be iPads in store to help match beer with food.

Bison Beer Crafthouse is due to open its doors on March 27 ahead of the Easter weekend.

Bison Beer Crafthouse’s top five Sussex beers

  • Hastings Brewery’s Mosaic Pale Ale – Single hopped American style pale ale with tropical fruit, blueberry and citrus flavours
  • Burning Sky’s Saison Le Printemps – Pale Continentalstyle beer from Firle with a clean, spritzy celebration of Springtime
  • Brighton Bier’s No Name Stout – Rich with generous amounts of oatmeal for a silky mouth feel
  • Franklins’ Citra IPA – Bexhill beer bursting with summer flavours of mango, lime, pineapple and orange
  • Naked Beer’s Indecent Exposure – A plain bitter chocolate porter from Lancing with notes of dark fruits and roasted malts