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Woohoo! The Corto Shop is Opening on Saturday 19th December 2020

We’re OVERJOYED and OVEREXCITED to tell you that we’re opening Corto as a shop on Saturday 19th December from 11am – 6pm.

Has anything good happened in 2020? Well, lots of great beer, wine and cider was made. So we want to share it with you.

We’re getting a temporary wall in place so you don’t get covered in building dust or fall down any holes, and the front of the bar is being turned entirely into a shop, selling natural wine, natural cider and perry, and a whole massive selection of brilliant beers.

We’ll also be serving hot and cosy mulled cider, made by us with cider from Udders Cider in Huddersfield.

Come in, say hello, don’t be shy. Have a little nosey. Ask a bunch of questions. We’re here for you!

Whatever you like, we’ll find you something you’ll love!

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Listen to Corto on BBC Radio 6 Music – The Open Arms with Shaun Keaveny

On Friday 11th December we were ripping up the floorboards in the back of the bar and listening to the radio. We always have the radio on. Radio 6, of course.Katie got a bit bored and texted in to try and get a shoutout. She does that a lot. It’s quite sad really.

Anyway, a text turned into a phonecall, and she ended up on Shaun Keaveny’s programme choosing a drink and a tune for the jukebox at his fictional Friday afternoon pub The Open Arms!

They chatted about missing the pubs during lockdown, Corto, and a few other things too. Have a listen.

Thank you to Joel for ripping this from the BBC Sounds app so we can keep this very weird moment for posterity.

What we loved most was having so many people message us to ask “WAS THAT YOU ON THE RADIO??” Yes! It was! It made our day to know not only that our future customers are 6 music listeners (aka. Very cool)  but that they recognised that it was us being chatted about on live radio. Ha! Brilliant.

And if you don’t want to listen but you’re curious to know what Katie chose to drink and to listen to: a pint of sparkled bitter each for her and Tom, and Good Times, Bad Times by Led Zeppelin.

The ultimate Friday tune.

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Join the Cider Women Zoom Event this Thursday from 7pm

We’re excited to remind you all that Katie (and maybe Tom for some of it) will be presenting this month’s Manchester Beer Club’s event, which is itself hosted by and celebrating Cider Women.

Tune in from 7pm on Thursday 10th December 2020.

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Exciting News! We’ve Got The Keys and We’re In

This week has been one of our most exciting yet. We got the keys to 36 King Street, Clitheroe. We’re in!

We’ve spent the past few days taking more measurements and figuring stuff out, but we’re here. Let’s hope we can get the work done quickly and get open soon!

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A First Look At Our Special Artwork by Artist Carmela Caldart

A few months ago, some artwork that accompanied a series of great features in Punch magazine about natural wine and changing attitudes towards certain types of wine in the US caught Katie’s eye. They were bright and full of life, colourful, engaging and had women at the front and centre. Women eating tapas. Women pouring bottles. Women drinking wine without a forced grin or a knowing smirk: women comfortably enjoying the things they loved.

And then there were the bottles and snacks themselves. Vaguely cartoonish in their deliciousness, they begged to be tasted. They showed the excitement and joy of food and drink, of eating and drinking. Underneath the leading image, these digital paintings were created by Barcelona-based artist Carmela Caldart.

We contacted Carmela to ask, first of all, if she was selling prints of the Punch paintings, so we could frame them and hang them in Corto. Of course, these were commissioned by the magazine, and so couldn’t be reproduced for anyone without the magazine’s permission — which we saw as being a long and ultimately costly and probably unsuccessful venture.

“I could paint something for you instead though?” she offered. “Why don’t you commission something of your own?”

Putting grandiose ideas of Napoleon-esque portraits aside, this was an offer too tempting to refuse. But being in the early stages of opening a bar during a pandemic, we didn’t have the readies to pay Carmela what she deserved for the commission.

This is when something amazing happened. On the back of what Katie felt was an extremely cheeky request for donations towards the artwork, it turned out that Corto has some very cool supporters who stepped up and chipped in and made it happen. We were chuffed to bits that within a couple of weeks we could go back to Carmela and say, yes! Do it! Please paint us a beautiful picture!

And she did. And here it is. (Please forgive the watermark which we’re using for now until the big version is printed, framed and hung.)

The Contributors

Here is where we say a huge and heartfelt thanks to the people who donated their hard-earned cash to help us pay for a piece of art that we think helps represent what Corto is and will be — a place very rooted in our hometown of Clitheroe, where everyone can gather and enjoy delicious drinks. So thank you, thank you, thank you to:

Joel Crookes

Cath Potter

Dick Withecombe

Maryanne O’Connor

Chris Norman

Emily Oram

Michael Yates

The Big Unveiling

We’re going to be printing and framing Carmela’s digital painting “Corto” and will hang it with pride on the best wall in Corto (whichever one that ends up being). We’ll have an unveiling, hopefully, on our opening day. More details to follow when we figure out when that will be!!

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A New Website! A Bit Of News! And Some FAQs!

We woke up this morning to a rainbow avalanche of sparkling positivity! Lancs Live wrote a story about Corto and what we’re hoping it can be once we EVENTUALLY manage to get in and start work on it. 

It’s super positive and happy, give it a read

Corto bar in Clitheroe - See you soon!

What we didn’t expect is for loads of people to jump right on board straight away. The positivity and good vibes we’ve received make it a lot easier to carry on working when so much uncertainty is everywhere. Knowing that people are excited for us, and that they want us to do well and succeed… it’s meant a lot. So thank you, you’ve really topped up our positivity tanks!

Not much has changed on the outside but we’ve been doing a lot of admin work in the background, so if it looks like we’re behind schedule… well, we are kinda, but also don’t worry. We’re on top of it. We’ve got this. We’re busy prepping! It’s all good! 

One bit of essential maintenance and prep has been to overhaul the website we made. Turns out we made it bad. But it’s alright because we fixed it, and now we’ve got the functionality to maybe, perhaps, possibly sell merch. Merch! We weren’t planning to, but you’ve asked for it, so we’re looking into what we could sell. If you’ve got any preferences, please shout us on Twitter or Instagram.

Quick FAQ

We get quite a few questions through on social media every day, which is ace. We love your enthusiasm. To help answer some of the most common questions, here’s a bit of an FAQ.

When Is Corto Opening?

Our opening date is still a non-specific date in November. We are working really hard to try and get everything ordered and sorted for November because we want to get a jump on Christmas, but also, we just want to be open asap!

Will Corto Do Food?

First and foremost, Corto is a beer, wine and cider bar. However, we are working with some amazing local producers so we can serve tasty snacks too. Things like artisanal breads, cheeses, dips, pickles, the odd pastry or cake… Little bits to keep you going.

Are Corto Hiring?

OMG we would absolutely LOVE to hire people this early on in the game, and eventually we will be hiring team members. Getting applications already has been super flattering. Unfortunately, at the moment we’re not able to take staff on ethically or financially — we need to learn how the bar itself will work and train how to be managers ourselves (and plus, we need to make some money!) before we feel we can bring anyone into the team.

Where Is Corto?

Corto is at 36 King Street, Clitheroe, BB7 2EU. You’ll find it opposite Orchid Bridal and between Raffia and the Peter Buckley Pharmacy — or, if you’re not familiar with Clitheroe, it’s a very short walk from the train station just past Maxwells and The Old Post House on the left. At the moment the premises is empty after recently hosting Raffia’s print gallery pop-up.

Will Corto Be Serving Gin?

Of course we will have a couple of gins on offer, but we will not be a “gin bar” — there are other bars in Clitheroe that simply do it better! We’re going to focus on having a few great choices of gins, rums and whiskies, alongside excellent vermouth, sherry and port bottles.

Do You Make Your Own Beer? Is Corto A Microbrewery?

No, we will not be making beer on-site. The space is just too tiny! However, we will be collaborating with a local brewery to brew a beer to celebrate our opening, so who knows what the future has in store?

Are You From Clitheroe?

We have lived in Clitheroe for about 7 years, but we aren’t OG locals. Tom is from Great Harwood and originally Rishton, and Katie has lived all over the bloody shop but was born in Lancaster and moved to Clitheroe from Stockport via London, Leeds, Hull, Scarborough and Aberdeenshire. This is why you’ll never guess where her accent is from.

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Why We Love the Most “Real” Cider and Perry

By Katie

Back in time, before I’d ever tasted Belgian beers or ordered an IPA at the pub, I was a cider drinker. In fact, I liked cider so much that I went on a trip around cider festivals in Herefordshire, and visited the Westons cidery in Much Marcle. It blew my mind.

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