Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beeritz: Thanks, Lads

When I heard that Beeritz was no more this morning as I sat down to work, I was genuinely gobsmacked. Of course, such sudden news is bound to do that, but it also felt very personal. Given that blogs are for this sort of thing, I thought I'd string a few words together this evening. I've supported Beeritz since I began drinking beer in 2005-ish, and that only ramped up since I started blogging about it in 2007. It's no hyperbole when I echo the sentiments of many Leeds beer fiends that without them, TGS would be nothing.

I'll illustrate this with a simple tale. Last Saturday, I had been stuck in the house for two days straight. My Border Terrier, Wilson, had been neutered and I was getting pretty bored of house-sitting an equally-bored, doped-up, tired and frustrated puppy. I decided on Friday night that this simply would not do, and resolved to go to Beeritz on Saturday.
I was actually excited - not only to be leaving the house, but to be indulging in my hobby with the old credit card primed and ready for action. The clock ticked down to 12; and off I was, dog-sitter arranged, in the car and riding the ten minute journey to Headingley.
When there I was greeted by Ghostie and Tom, and we spent the next half-hour chewing the fat: Dogs, Beer, Homebrewing, Marketing Strategy, and finally Beer Label Art. I left the shop much later, £50 worth of sweet ales clinking away in the boot of the car.

So although I can go online and buy beer now - in fact, I'll have to - it's this connection with the shop and the staff that I'll miss the most. Beeritz was much more than a shop - it was a hub,
simple as that. What's more, the loss of it is massive for Leeds; a real black hole.

So I'll take this opportunity to say Thanks Zak, Ghostie (Can we reveal your name, yet, mate?) and Tom - and all previous staff. God knows I owe you all a few pints. Best of luck to all of you for the future - and I really mean that.


Alistair Reece said...

I was almost panicking then. When I come home to Blighty on rare occasions, it is to BeerRitz that I turn for an online order of beer.

Mike said...

Nice post. The shop was called Beer-Ritz not Beeritz.

Chris Townend said...

I too had exactly the same reaction - I was upset for the lads and for myself.

I've been saving myself for my next trip, sans kids and the current Mrs T., to browse and buy some genuinely unique beers.

Where on earth am I going to get Cantillon non-fruit lambic beer?

God bless

MarbleBrewerCol said...

I've seen a few blogs on this today and I really felt I had to comment and must agree with them all. Many were the times we used to argue over who got to take the dray up to Leeds so we cold have a nosey around the shelves, or a chat with Zak and the others and many a Friday night in after was enlightened by their choices/recommendations/advice and beer. The best of luck to you all, I hope that all will come good for you soon and that we can chat about it over a "swift" half soon.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree. A real shame. Live in Sheffield
But with numerous friends in Leeds a visit to
Beer ritz was incorporated into visits. Nothing as good in
Sheffield, though Dram Shop is decent.
Back to paying postage .....

Ghost Drinker said...

Leigh - my name can be revealed to be William Briggs. Humble man, born and bred from Leeds itself. I've lived here my whole life, and don't think I'd really ever like anywhere else as much. I was born in Jimmy's after all! Thanks for the kind words. It's the chats we all shared at the shop which is the biggest loss to us all. That's what we'll miss the most. Believe when I say, Zak is doing everything in his power to try some miracle resurrection, but we can only hope on a tiny chance. Thanks for helping us become great, it's only because of beer enthusiasts like you guys. Will miss you all.

Rhianne said...

hang on, what?! Why? I'm really shocked too and gutted.

I didn't know anyone who worked there but it was the first place we went to for gifts for friends and each other.

Anonymous said...

Massive loss for beer in Leeds

Leigh said...

Rhi - no idea why as of yet, not sure if ever will.

CliffordChallenger said...

So my obvious question is what happened and why so suddenly?
I had been as recently as last Satuday and have just toasted the memory of the shop with a one-off IPA from Roosters brewery which I had been saving for a special occasion.
Lots of the British beers are available elsewhere, but I will miss the excellent American imports and the Italian craft beers which had been on sale over the last few months.
I will really miss my trips over to Sunshine Bakery and Beer Ritz. If you are reading this, Sunshine, Bakery, you had better stay open, OK?

CliffordChallenger said...

What happened? I was only at Beer-Ritz last Saturday and I will really miss my regular trips there and to the Sunshine Bakery (Sunshine Bakery you had better not close).
Many of the British beers can be found elsewhere but where can I get Smuttynose or Dogfish or those lovely Italian craft beers they were stocking these last few months?
I have just toasted their memory with a bottle of IPA from Roosters brewery which I was saving for a special occasion.

Anonymous said...

Just in case you didn't know Beerritz shop and mail order were back in business on 23rd March following an administration hiccup.

Leigh said...

Anon; thanks, yes we did; hop on over to Zak's blog for the lowdown.