Tighes Hill Cellars is one of the oldest liquor stores in the Newcastle area, selling alcoholic beverages to the local community for years. For the last two decades, Rob Richards has been at the helm, spending the past few years turning it into a craft beer superstore.
In doing so – and to make sure their craft offerings reach customers in the best possible condition – Tighes Hill Cellars has undergone a massive $150,000 renovation, including a $50,000 upgrade to the drive-thru. This has created a 15m long wall of cool storage, allowing staff to display a dazzling array of 500 bottles and cans.
Among them, you’re likely to spot the sort of hard-to-find and limited releases that are becoming hallmarks in the Australian craft industry as well as between ten and twenty new beers that arrive at the store every week, granted prime spots and rarely lasting long. It’s an offering that’s seen Tighes Hill Cellars become a go-to spot – both in-store and online – for a growing number of knowledgeable, craft beer-drinking fans.
Those fans are served by passionate, knowledgeable staff, who taste test everything that comes their way before deciding whether it will take a place in the fridges, thus ensuring cans and bottles don’t have time to gather dust. The beer is sourced as fresh as possible too, on occasion arriving just hours after canning, while keen Tighes Hill Cellars fans are kept updated on new arrivals via active Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as the store’s website, so they can pounce quickly – or purchase them online for delivery or via “click and collect”, of which more later.
Rob has surrounded himself with fellow beer geeks, as he knows the importance of running the business alongside staff who truly know and love the products. They run beer tastings each Friday evening to help educate their clientele, an approach that’s converted many customers into craft beer drinkers who place their trust in the staff’s recommendations.
And it’s not just beer… The team are keen to put themselves on the map for all manner of drinks. They stock a vast range of artisan spirits, as well as small-batch, minimal intervention wines. The world of natural wines is enjoying a huge amount of interest and Tighes Hill Cellars count many local restaurants among their expanding list of customers in this niche part of the industry.
Early in 2019, Tighes Hill Cellars took another step forward and increased their online presence through launching online sales, designed to offer same day deliver to Newcastle customers (provided orders are made that morning), and within two days for as far afield as Melbourne. Locals also have the advantage of their “click and collect" option, which means you can order online then pick up your pre-packed order in-store within the hour.
Two decades on from taking up the reins, Rob and his passionate team aren’t just running one of the oldest liquor stores in the region, but one where you can discover a world of the best craft beer, fine wine and artisan spirits too.