I am sure all discerning beer drinkers will agree that there is presently a growing thirst for craft beer.

And it certainly appears to be presently reviving a once endangered species, an establishment affectionately known as 'the offy'.

Specialist bottled beer shops are without doubt in the ascendancy. However, to be quite candid, one such beery business came as a surprise when it opened in Read village a month ago.

It was the former village bakery and pie shop. However, owner, Chris Bird decided to change tack and embark on a new venture, by tapping into the burgeoning craft beer market.

The original concept was to sell wine and a few bottled beers. However, Chris has now concentrated more on beer and has over 120 beers to either take out, or taste on site. His on-sales also include four draught craft beers on tap.

It's a most impressive place on the main road in the centre of the village. A bright, compact shop, offering wall-to-wall beers and wines plus a seated area where the range of alcoholic beverages can be consumed.

As a beer lover, what had really influenced my visit, was the draught craft beers on offer. A sight seldom witnessed in an off-licence.

They are all dispensed from a keg system. Chris said: "The keg dispense system is sold to us in 30 litre kegs which is ideal for our turnover. About 150 microbreweries operate this system giving us access to about a thousand beers.

"Our craft beer take-outs have proved very popular. They come in one and two litre glass containers, known as Growlers. They are priced from £5 and £7.50 respectively. You can also drink any of our beer and wine on site, in our seated area."

Well, that was my cue from Chris. I moved to the said area and sampled Kelpie Seaweed Ale from Williams Brothers (£2 or £2.60 on site). A rich, malty smooth ale with caramel and liquorice notes. A tad peppery in the finish, however, no seaweed detected!

It was delicious. No surprise it's presently their best selling bottled beer.

Read Ale and Wines shop is undoubtedly a most innovative venture offering an eclectic range of alcohol beverages and a drinking experience not normally associated with a typical beer and wine stockist.

No surprise then, that it has already become a popular destination for beer and wine aficionados since its inception just one month ago.