HE’S brought beers and wines of the world within the grasp of home brewers, but now after nearly three decades in business the shutters are coming down on Studley’s Wine Empourium for the final time.
Former bricklayer Michael Hallsworth turned a passion for home brewing into a livelihood when he opened the High Street shop nearly 30 years ago.
And since then he’s seen a massive change in trade, driven by the explosion in flavoured beers and ciders and exotic wines too.
“It really has gone up market and there are some really funky beers out there today, like mocha porters, Belgian beers and ambers. Basically as soon as it gets trendy it’s in a kit,” said Mike.
“Wine has gone a similar way with the dearest wine kit we sell costing £90.”
However, with a 64th birthday fast approaching and eight grandchildren – he and his wife Theresa have three sons – he felt it was time for a change.
“I used to be a bricklayer and I did my own home brew for about ten years before I opened the shop, and of course it helped that I knew a bit about what I was selling,” said Mike.
“Over the years though I reckon I’ve learnt as much off the customers as I’ve told them.
“I feel as if I’ve been here just two days rather than nearly 30 years and during that time I’ve never thought ‘oh God, I’ve got to go to work’ .
“I’ve met some great people who have become friends and I just want to thank all my customers over the years.
“It’ll be a wrench to leave the business but the time is right.”
The Wine Empourium closes on December 22.