TWO North-East craft beer aficionados have toasted their first Christmas in business after a successful first week trading.

Business partners Danny McClusky and Leigh Jackson opened Brass Monkey Beer Boutique, a bottle shop and taproom on Guisborough High Street just before Christmas, and have been overwhelmed by the support from their community.

The shop – which sells a variety of craft beers, natural wines, and canned cocktails but also boasts ten beers on tap – has already proved popular with locals, with some beer fans coming from as far away as Hartlepool to see what’s on offer. Danny, a former pub area manager, said: “It’s just been great. We’ve been made to feel so welcome as the town’s first craft beer shop, and we’ve had so much positive feedback – the reception has just been brilliant.

“Opening so close to Christmas was a bit nerve-wracking, but it seems to have worked well – the gift packs and limited-edition products have apparently been very popular as ‘grown-up’ stocking fillers.”

The duo, who are both originally from Middlesbrough, both spent their early careers working in the London hospitality and pub industry, before moving back up north when they each had children, feeling it was a better part of the country to raise their families.

After spending so many years working for pubs and breweries in various roles, they decided it was time to capitalise on their knowledge and love of the craft beer scene, and follow their shared dream of opening their own shop.

Now, they aim to bring public attention to many exciting new independent breweries and producers which have yet to find an audience in the area. Leigh added: “We want to say a big thank you to everyone who’s visited and given Brass Monkey such a great start. It’s given us a lot of confidence that the business will continue to grow in the new year.

“We’re looking forward to bringing in more local producers and showcasing the best of what the North-East has to offer, alongside the 45 products we’ve added just this week.”

Brass Monkey will be closed on New Year’s Day, but will be open each day from 11am after the holidays.