27 Feb
'Indies are key to re-building the community'

A busy mum, and owner of Sheffield city centre beer shop and tasting room Hop Hideout, is taking part in a ‘mums love local’ campaign encouraging people to 'think local' when they spoil their mum this Mother’s Day, supporting local businesses at the same time. 

Jules Gray set up Hop Hideout in 2013 and is also the founder of Sheffield Beer Week, and Indie Beer Feast

“I came to Sheffield to study, and working in bars helped to fund my degree. That, and my mum being a beer drinker too, is where my passion for craft beer came from. After my degree, I moved into the brewing side and in 2007 got a job at a big brewery in Leeds, working in everything from technical support to sales, procurement and logistics. 

“This was the time when people were getting really excited about British brewed beers and real ales, and new artisanal independent breweries started to produce these interesting beers. I decided it was time to do my own thing. 

“Women are a minority in the beer industry and I certainly faced barriers getting into the industry, so it’s important to me to champion minority owned breweries through Hop Hideout, especially as a mum to my little girl Ivy, who just turned one. 

“There has been a big rise in female entrepreneurship and women realising they have the skills, the knowledge and the experience and setting up on their own. It is hard setting up your own business but it’s very fulfilling to be able to follow my passion and introduce people to new beers and new breweries. 

“We’re celebrating our 10th year in 2023 which is a real achievement, especially after the challenges of the last few years. The hospitality industry has been hit hard and many people left the sector. I was only able to find one staff member, so my maternity leave lasted a month and there was a lot of working around nap times. 

“I now have two fantastic staff members, which helps me to juggle childcare, plus the support of my husband, friends and other independent business owners. It’s great for Ivy to have a positive female role model and know that she can work in any industry she chooses to. 

“Brewing is a creative process. At Hop Hideout, we love the ‘funky’ beers, farmhouse ciders, low intervention wine with lots of Sheffield and Yorkshire beer. Hybridisation is also a new thing, such as beers inspired by cocktails, beer and cider blends. Experimentation and creativity is key.” 

Hop Hideout is one of almost 90 businesses who are part of the Sheffield City Centre Gift Card

Jules says that independent business are key to re-building the community after the pandemic: “We’re part of the Sheffield City Centre Gift Card because I think it’s a real positive championing of the city. Small businesses often don’t have the marketing budget or the ability to have a high street presence. The Sheffield City Centre Gift Card is a great way for helping people to discover the Sheffield food, drink, retail and shopping scene, including lots of independents. 

“Independent businesses are key to re-building the community after the pandemic and the cost of living crisis because they improve and invest in the neighbourhoods. If you spend local, more of your money is staying in the community, making a positive impact. But as well as the economic benefit, there’s also the social benefit of interacting with real people and developing relationships with small business owners. 

“I’m a vinyl and book fan so if I had a Sheffield City Centre Gift Card I’d spend it at La Biblioteka, or the Sheffield Makers Shop which features hundreds of local artists and makers. Then maybe The Showroom Cinema and a chai tea from Chakra Lounge, and of course a beer at Hop Hideout. I encourage everyone to support local this Mother’s Day; it really does make a huge difference.” 

The Sheffield City Centre Gift Card launched in 2017 as a way to drive footfall to the city, and lock in spend locally. 

Richard Pilgrim, Project Manager at Sheffield BID said: “We introduced the Sheffield City Centre Gift Card to showcase all we have to offer here in Sheffield, from high street brands to local independent businesses run by skilled and passionate individuals like Jules. This Mother’s Day, the Sheffield City Centre Gift Card is a gift that can be spent in so many ways, allows mums to explore what’s on their doorstep, and perhaps discover some hidden gems.” 

Sheffield’s gift card is part of the award winning Town & City Gift Card initiative from Miconex active across the UK. Local gift card giants Town & City Gift Cards are leading the national ‘mums love local’ campaign alongside Sheffield BID

Colin Munro, managing director of Miconex, added: “The idea behind our ‘mums love local’ campaign is to meet the mums behind our local businesses, who are working hard to keep our communities vibrant, interesting places to live, work and socialise. When you spoil your mum this Mother’s Day, you can also support many other mums running and working in local businesses.”