Plans for craft beer outlet in the Market

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Craft, a venture co-owned by hospitality entrepreneur Marcus Calvani, plans to sell craft beer, spirits, wine and coffee from the old Darius Pearce unit, for which he has just signed a lease.

Mr Calvani, co-owner of Be Served Group, which already operates JB’s Brewhouse in St Helier and The Lido at Havre des Pas, said opening the new store was taking longer than he had hoped but intended for it to be up and running in time for Christmas.

The entrepreneur also endorsed a recent call made by Visit Jersey to create a vibrant ‘food and drink hub’ – possibly within the Central Market – claiming it was something he had been calling for for years.

‘You have got the likes of Flour, Ginger and Casa Paco who have done really well so there is stuff in there which has modernised it compared to ten years ago. The lady in charge of the Market has got really good vision for the place but has not had the support to pull it off.

‘Jersey is often a bit adverse to risk and change and I think there are a lot of traders there who have been there for a long time and are happy with how it functions and change is not something they are thinking about. But we are confident that in the next few years we will see a big change in what happens there.’

Mr Calvani added that he thought the opening hours of the Central Market, which closes at 5.30pm Monday to Friday – apart from on Thursday when it closes at 2.30pm ­– were not aligned to modern demands.

‘There needs to be a big change in operating hours,’ he said. ‘The reality is that they are not fit for modern-day purposes. When my father was running his restaurant [La Cantina] he used to go in there before school to go and buy fruit and vegetables but that is not now how businesses work.

‘Opening at 7am and closing at 5.30pm when people are just leaving work seems relatively pointless.’

Darius Pearce was sentenced to 7½ years in prison in July after helping a drugs gang launder tens of thousands of pounds.

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