With so many plates spinning, it’s rare for the Tiny Rebel team to find the time to take stock of all they’ve achieved. Susanna Forbes cornered them in a rare moment of quiet to talk about the brewery’s impressive past and plans for the future
‘For now, the goal is consolidation,’ says Brad Cummings, co-founder of Tiny Rebel, speaking of the brewery’s plans for the next year, having just installed themselves in their well appointed, new brewery.
‘It’s been a two-and-a-half year project, with £2.6m investment. So, rather than jumping into the next project, we’ll be bringing the focus back to the quality and the consistency [of the beer],’ he says. ‘That’s what we always want to do.’
Founded in Newport, South Wales in 2012, the award-winning brewery – it picked up Champion Beer of Britain for Cwtch in 2015 – also has bars in Cardiff and Newport.
Its new 6000m2 site, on the outskirts of Newport, includes the brewery’s first bottling and canning line, plus an impressive 400-cover bar, restaurant and events space.
Currently exporting to 30 countries, the new brewery has a maximum capacity of five million litres, meeting demand for its 12 regular beers in 22 formats.
With the goal of being as sustainable as possible, the brewery has its own steam generator, plus its own bore-hole to supply its water needs.
Room with a view
Walk into its new, expansive bar area, the brewery is fully visible, through a floor-to-ceiling glass partition. Artworks by Tiny Rebel’s original, resident artist, Taz, adorn the walls and there are graphics of the brewing process on the glass partition.
As well as 24 keg taps and 12 cask lines, many of the dishes are cooked with beer. One popular dish, Cummings says, is Beer Can Chicken, with the chicken stuffed with a can of Cali, and served in a sharing/ tearing manner.
‘We want it to be a community hub’, says Cummings, a local lad himself. Open Wednesday to Sunday, within a few months of opening, the restaurant is already in demand – ‘you’ll have to be lucky to get a walk-in’.
‘I’ve been taken aback by their support,’ said Cummings of the locals’ response. ‘We’ve already had a wedding here. And my birthday party [he recently turned 30]!’
To reach beyond the beer aficionados, staff offer tastes and flights, ‘for those who aren’t so keen. Last week I brought over one of our Mojito Sours to a mother and daughter who were visiting. One liked it and one didn’t. But it got them talking. It’s an education in itself.’
So what’s next? ‘Our Christmas meeting. That’s tomorrow,’ said Cummings, pointing to the staff Beer Wall, where anyone and everyone can make suggestions.
Meanwhile, the deadline looms for Tiny Rebel’s competition with Wales Online, whereby punters get to design the label for the next beer – a ‘sweet shop stout’. Think honeycomb, vanilla, chocolate… The winner secures a pair of tickets to Brewfest – Tiny Rebel’s beer festival in Cardiff in early September – plus 365 bottles of said beer and an iPad.
‘Bit like Craft Beer Rising for Wales’, says Cummings of Brewfest. And the beer will be launched at the Newport Food & Drink Festival in October, which, following its successful 2016 debut, Tiny Rebel is once more the lead sponsor.