A love of craft beer and passion for music inspired three friends to take the plunge and open a new shop on Oxford’s Cowley Road despite covid restrictions.

After a frantic festive season and hopes that they would be able to welcome customers back by the spring, Big Scary Monsters Social Club has now turned its attention to its click and collect and delivery services to see beer and music fans through the latest lockdown.

“We have over 200 craft beers from all around the world, plus hundreds of vinyl records, mostly from the punk, indie and alternative world”

Big Scary Monsters Social Club is co-owned by Kevin Douch, his wife Gemma Hefferon-Douch, pal Leigh Shorter and employs friend, Ffin Colley, too.

Kevin told us: “We’ve all been playing with the idea for a very long time and it’s been great getting it up and running, despite the obvious challenges of this year. 

Beer and records – what more could you want?

“The name comes from my East Oxford record label, Big Scary Monsters, which turns 20 in January, started while I was at school in Wantage,” he says.

The shop is sandwiched between Atomic Burger and Taberu, opposite the Ultimate Picture Palace and Big Society. Kevin added: “We’re in fine company! Our wall is plastered with the words “beer and records” which quite nicely sums up what we sell.

“we’ve been here for almost two months now, which has so far seen us through two lockdowns and two different tier restrictions”

‘We have over 200 craft beers from all around the world, as well as hundreds of vinyl records, mostly from the punk, indie and alternative world.”

With the tills ringing throughout December, business was brisk. Kevin said: “It was brilliant with so many people calling in every day to pick up gifts for loved ones and themselves, and we couldn’t have been happier considering we only managed to open at the beginning of the month. 

So why Cowley Road? “We’d been looking around and waiting for the right location to come up for two years now. We found this place in July, just after Lockdown 1, got the keys in October and opened for click and collect in November during lockdown 2.

“We’ve quickly built up a group of lovely locals who’ve been incredibly supportive”

“So, in total we’ve been here for almost two months now, which has seen us through two lockdowns and two different tier restrictions. but we knew this winter would be tough.”

“We’ve quickly built up a group of lovely locals who’ve been incredibly supportive, and the number of people who’ve said Oxford has been crying out for a craft beer bottle shop has definitely given us confidence.”

“Indie businesses are so important and go above and beyond to provide amazing products and services. without them Oxford – Cowley Road in particular – just wouldn’t be the same”

The team is now concentrating its efforts on a local delivery service and click and collect. Kevin added: “People can still come in to buy beers for takeaway, and all the records are online now which will hopefully make us a stronger business in the long run.

“Indie businesses are so important. The community of people who run and work in them go above and beyond to provide amazing products and services, and without them Oxford – Cowley Road in particular – just wouldn’t be the same,” Kevin adds.

Future plans for the Big Scary Monsters Social Club include beer on tap, acoustic in-store performances and linking up with other local venues to put on bigger events.

“We’re all so excited about when we can open the doors fully for the first time, without too many restrictions so that people will be able to drink inside at last,” he adds.

For more information on Big Scary Monsters Social Club, click and collect or to order go to – bsmsocialclub.com and follow @bsmsocialclub on Insta, FB and Twitter.

SARAH EDWARDS

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