THE team behind a plan to open a new craft beer outlet in Stourbridge have said a celebratory cheers after getting the go-ahead for the venture.

At Dudley's development control committee meeting last night (Thursday June 25) Dudley councillors approved the proposal for a change of use of the retail unit, which was most recently used as a thrift store, so it can be turned into a new off-licence with sit-in tasting area.

The new HAUL! beer venture will sell bottled and canned independent craft beers and the shop will include a cold stored keg line and tap set up so beer fans can taste test the products.

Planning consultants Plande stressed the tasting area will be an additional marketing offer to encourage the selling of bottle and can products, rather than a drinking establishment, in a design and access statement submitted to council planners.

The new venture is sure to please craft beer fans in the town but residents living nearby at St Giles Row were hoping the plan would be turned down as they are concerned the change of use for the three-storey end of terrace property, known as Giles House, will mean the property could at some stage in the future be used as a bar, operating until late at night, should Haul! beer decide to relocate.

Richard Hopkins, speaking on behalf of some of the residents, said after the meeting: "Whilst we accept that the owners of HAUL! beer shop intend to sell high end craft beers to 'serious drinkers not boozers' to quote one of the councillors at last night's meeting; we still believe the retail/bar would be better located in the High Street surrounded by the other pubs, rather than in Lower High Street which is predominantly a residential area."

The team behind the new beer shop, however, say the business will be a place for people to "try and enjoy the delights of artisanal beer" and they say they are delighted to have secured permission for the change of use of the building, next to Giles Hill.

On their Facebook page they said: "It's a celebratory cheers from us as our change of use has just been accepted.

"We can't wait to start bringing some super beer to Stourbridge."

To find out more about the venture go to or check out Haul Beer Shop on Facebook.

The couple behind the project, Hannah and Paul Tunnicliffe, told the News the company was formed out of a "mutual love of artisanal craft beer" and they added: "We believe there is a real gap in the market for bringing high end beer to Stourbridge, and we are passionate about contributing to the High Street and making it thrive again.

"We understand some local residents have some concerns about HAUL! and we want to reassure them that the business is designed to cater to beer enthusiasts, hobbyists and discerning customers, and as such should be considered a specialist bottle shop and not a 'drinking establishment'.

"As active members of the Stourbridge community HAUL! beer will be sympathetic to both the High Street and local residents and we will always work together with our neighbours.

"We truly believe HAUL! beer will be a benefit to Stourbridge and will encourage new visitors to the town."

If all goes to plan the new venture could be open by August. Its opening hours will be midday to 8pm, Tuesday to Saturday.