Hop Shop Founder Luc Sonnier already had a successful career in the Oil & Gas industry when he first moved to Singapore in 2005. After a brief stint in Indonesia, he decided to move back to Singapore where he met his wife and decided to take the plunge, leaving the corporate life in pursuit of entrepreneurial ambitions.
What initially started as an essential oils and skincare store in Holland Village back in 2012, has now become the Bukit Timah community’s go-to “hop shop”.
“Hop Shop was a shot in the dark to see if there was demand,” he said. “All the chains carried the same brands and we thought the neighborhood lacked unique, quirky products so we started with beers and ciders and eventually evolved our collection as demand grew.”
Today, Hop Shop provides the community with an increasing variety of ales, ciders, wines and liquors sourced from all over the world. “Indian Pale Ales are always popular, as well as special stouts that are barrel aged, but there is also increasing demand for limited label liquors. I myself am a fan of Kilchoman whisky, Hampden rum and Neisson Rhum Agricole.” Adding to this variety is an expanding selection of non-alcoholic, vegan and gluten free products ensuring there is something for every taste or dietary preference.
Celebrating their 6th anniversary in February, Hop Shop has been a staple in the buzzing, family-friendly Bukit Timah neighborhood. “When we visited the unit, we knew we had to take it and we’ve been located here ever since.” From serving young couples who come in over time - “crazy to see how their kids grow up so quickly!” - to keeping parents who drop their kids off at the tutors up stairs occupied with a beer, the store has become a local haunt.
“We even had a customer who helped 3D print a logo for us which was really special,” said Luc. “We’ve had an online shop from the start but want to stay close to our community, and the store keeps us an active and engaged presence in the neighborhood. We try to source unique products so there is always something new and exciting for our customers to try, such as some special wines from Israel that we brought in recently,” he added. ”But ultimately, we adapt our offerings based on what we hear our customers want.”
And what is the current demand, one might wonder? “We have seen more interest from customers in limited labels, and we are also seeing them develop a taste for stronger craft beers. In addition to the wide range of tastes and brews on offer, the added plus is they are more accessible than nice wines too.”