We have an amazing team of local, talented people who love hospitality and beer and cider. They have helped us win the CAMRA Pub of the Year for London in 2021 and 2022, CAMRA Cider Pub of the Year for London in 2021, 2022 and 2023, and to top it all off, the UK National Cider Pub of the Year in 2022.

Phil Cooke

Owner of the Hop Inn

Phil started life by the sea in Bangor near Belfast in Northern Ireland, he has made his home in England since he was 18 and discovered the delights of drinking.

He has sold and bought most kinds of food and drink in more than 30 years of experience in hospitality. He has worked in restaurants, bars, and late night venues, buying everything from duck legs to plum tomatoes and Champagne to gin.

He met Alison when they selected wines together for a company with 300-odd restaurants, and they travelled in France and Italy blending wines with native wine makers for the customers back home.

He loves potato, beer, delicious Burgundies and so many more things it’s almost impossible to choose.

Alison Taffs

Co-owner of The Hop Inn and Drinks Educator

Alison is born and bred in Hornchurch. Always keen to try something new, Alison has had a brilliant time learning to be a beer sommelier with over 100 beers for the largest Belgium beer restaurant in London, and revitalising tired lists with new beers from the burgeoning London craft beer scene.

She was one of the early female members of the Soho Malt Whisky Society. She loves malt so much, she has a share in two casks of baby scotch that she visits in Scotland as often as possible.

A hugely enthusiastic and inclusive drinks educator, Alison co-runs her own drinks education company, The Grape Society,  and leads training and tastings on everything from Champagne and gin to whisky and Sherry for London restaurants and bars.

She has run regular drinks clubs and events for places like; The National Café at The National Gallery; The British Library, The Royal Academy. She runs regular drinks and supper clubs for Home House in Portman Square and Home Grown Club. She also works for Decanter Magazine’s Wine Encounters at The Landmark Hotel.

Alison is a qualified pommelier and founded The London Cider and Perry Club in 2022, she is passionate about real cider and perry and advocates for them at all opportunities.

She is a regular host of the CAMRA podcast; Pubs, Pints, People and contributes to the CAMRA Learning and Discovery website.

Alison is a trustee for the Upminster Windmill and likes nothing better than drinking real beer, real cider and proper perry by windmills!

Andrew Conway

Bar Team and Photographer

Andrew lives within a 5-minute walk of the Hop Inn, so counts as a super-local, and has lived in Havering all his life.

He loves beer and will extol the virtues of whisky with you (his tipple of choice is Caol Ila 12yr old malt from Islay – oily, smokey, nutty with a subtly sweet finish).

He takes photographs for fun and money, with a particular passion for whisky distilleries, Scottish landscapes and architecture.  See his website for more info.

He is currently documenting the restoration of Upminster Windmill in images, and is a trustee and volunteer alongside Alison there.