REAL ale and beer lovers could soon benefit from a unique night-time venture in Billericay.

The Essex Beer Shop and Microbrewery, in Chapel Street, has revealed ambitious plans to double in size, just a year after opening.

Owner Trevor Jeffery, 50, from Warley Woods Crescent, Brentwood, will start renting the empty shop, a former accountants of about the same size, next door and is keen to open until 10pm, Monday to Saturday.

The venue, which will hopefully feature live music too, will eventually compete with a host of pubs and bars along Billericay High Street, and the surrounding streets.

Mr Jeffery, a former teacher, said: “We brew our own beer and ales, so if you're someone who enjoys a drink, but doesn't like the hustle and bustle of pubs and bars, then this is an alternative.

“I always thought in a few years we would end up doing something like this, but it’s happened much quicker than I expected.

“It was a case of good timing. The unit became available, so we snapped it up.

“We had to apply for a new premises licence to cover the new unit, so we thought while we're doing that we might as well go for the later opening times.

“We have been having monthly tasting events recently, but every time we have to apply for a temporary licence. This way we'll be covered all the time.”

As well as brewing its own ales – including Billericay Blonde, Billericay Dickie, A Mild With No Name, Mayflower Gold, Chapel Street Porter and Dead Zeppelin – the shop also stocks more than 100 locally-produced or rare beers, wines and ciders.

The business, which opened last June, has also submitted a licensing application to play live music from 11am until 9pm on Friday and Saturday, and 11am until 6pm on Sunday. Mr Jeffery wants to keep the Essex Beer Shop and Microbrewery open from 8am until 10pm Monday to Saturday, and 11am until 6pm on Sunday.

The business, which offers customers tours of its brewery, is currently open until 5pm every day.

Licensing officers from Basildon Council will decide on the proposals next month.