Even though the business only opened in May 2019, there’s no doubt that Ruddington’s The Bottle Top has already become an integral part of village life for many residents – especially for craft beer fans and more environmentally conscious customers.
Located in the premises previously occupied by the legendary Thomas’s Greengrocers, husband and wife team Anthony and Alex Preston certainly had some big shoes to fill at 2, High Street. However, it quickly became clear that their new business would be much more than just a ‘posh’ off-licence. They promised to bring this famous shop back to life with a range of products not previously available in our village. Items such as local honey, jams, sauces and coffees have been on offer since the start – with the duo since expanding their product ranges whenever and wherever possible.
The Bottle Top has also established itself as a hub of ‘sustainable’ living in Ruddington – with its many eco products and initiatives. This includes a good selection of fresh fruit and vegetables without all the plastic packaging – some from local growers. Underlining that commitment, Alex is also keen to point out their range of other environmentally friendly items:
“We have refills for our sauce bottles, for laundry and household cleaning items where you bring along your old containers like shampoo, conditioner and hand soap bottles – or washing powder boxes – to refill in store. We have dental tabs instead of plastic toothpaste tubes, bamboo toothbrushes and drinking straws.” These sit alongside reusable cups, flasks and metal lunch boxes – all designed to get us away from single use plastics. Rows of jars are filled with loose pantry staples in their ‘low waste’ section, ready to weigh into your own containers.
When the nationwide ‘lockdown’ caused by the Coronavirus pandemic was in place, the Bottle Top was classed as an ‘essential’ business, meaning Anthony and Alex were permitted to remain open by the Government – and they decided they would do so. Their little shop continued to serve residents with essential supplies at a time when our village supermarkets were struggling to keep up with demand – with further new items items introduced such as freshly baked bread, free range eggs and even eco-friendly toilet rolls!
During this period the duo were joined by Jen Walker of The Split Screen Coffee Company to serve her range of famous VW Camper Van hot beverages from The Bottle Top’s premises. This has been so successful she’s now become a permanent fixture at 2, High Street – giving customers the option to enjoy ‘sit-down’ coffee and cake, too. This is in addition to the beers available ‘on tap’ which you can enjoy at their new, socially distanced tables – either inside or outside, depending upon the weather.
Keen to remain COVID-safe, Alex explains: “During busy times we may ask members of the same party to wait outside to reduce wait times and ensure safety. You are asked to sanitise your hands and baskets before shopping – we have provided this at the front of the shop on entry.” Within the shop there’s a one-way system past the counter and you’ll see markings on the floor to indicate 2m apart. But shoppers displaying any COVID-19 symptoms are urged to stay away: “Contact us if you need assistance in obtaining food items and we will continue to support and offer delivery for the vulnerable where we can” says Alex.
Former brewery area manager Anthony’s passion is Craft Ale – with an ever expanding range of colourful cans and bottles in stock. By popular demand, real ale in a bottle has been added to the shelves – with further additions from the local craft ale scene alongside national, European and American beers. “We’re doing better than we originally thought we would” admits Anthony. “We’ve got a good set of regulars now for such a small shop. It’s going really well.” Naturally he’s keen for you to return your empty bottles and cans for reuse and recycling, as well.
After the success of their participation in RuddFest 2019 as a ‘micro-bar’. The Bottle Top has since held regular, specialist beer events in the shop. After a break during the pandemic these have now resumed – and details of forthcoming ones are to be found on The Bottle Top’s social media.
After shortening its business hours temporarily during ‘lockdown’, The Bottle Top is now open again Monday to Thursday from 9am to 6pm and from 9am to 9pm on a Friday and Saturday. You can contact Alex and Anthony by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, texting or ‘phoning 07946 190499 or getting in touch with them via social media.
Keep an eye on their latest offers and initiatives via their Facebook page >>HERE<<.