The world according to Bruce Gray

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Drinks: Beers, Drinks
Other: People

Bruce Gray, founder of the crafty Small Bar and Left Handed Giant Brewing talks to Adrian Tierney-Jones about BrewDog, SuperTed and why Bristol is like Narnia


‘My worst holiday was in Benidorm with a couple of mates. The hotel was a box with three beds packed in and a horrible toilet next door.’

‘My personality and management skills are best suited to a small company. When I left BrewDog Bars, there were almost 100 people employed and I felt like I was losing connection with the team as a whole.’

‘I loved Super Ted as a kid. A magical space teddy with super powers. What’s not to love!’

‘Walking up a side alley from Baldwin Street in Bristol with its normal businesses into St Nicolas Market with its small indie food stalls feels like walking through a cupboard into Narnia.’

‘I enjoy high-end small dish food, but I love independent street food more. Gyoza from Eatchu in St Nicholas Market in Bristol’s Corn Exchange is as good as it gets for me.’

‘I used to be a Thai boxer and fought in one match. I could take on a kangaroo no bother.’

‘Don’t be afraid of failure. Push your boundaries, follow your dreams, and if they don’t work out take the lessons on board and try again. Hard work and perseverance are the most important qualities for an entrepreneur.

Our brewer Rich used to run his own brewery on a part-time basis, but we got him drunk a number of times and persuaded him to quit his day job and join us. He is so talented it would be a crime not to give him a platform.’

‘I was a professional golfer from the age of 19 to 24, coaching at a local club. I really wanted to be a pro player, but when I realised that I was never going to be one, I transitioned over to managing the club house, including the bar and restaurant.’

‘I had my first bar job in Tenerife when I was 18 years old. It was run by a couple of Manchester lads called Big Billy and Billy Bingo. I pulled pints of lager for five months and had the time of my life.’

‘Before we opened Small Bar in Bristol, the premises was used for a late night cocktail bar called Sublime. It was awful and my pint of lager, equally awful. When I got the keys six weeks later, I saw the state of the dishwasher and recalled drinking that lager.’

Bruce Gray’s CV

1998 First bar job in Tenerife
1999- Works as the resident professional for
2004 a golf club
2010 Joins BrewDog as manager of its first
bar in Aberdeen
2012 Sets up wholesaler Craftcentric and The
Hanging Bat Beer Café in Edinburgh
2013 Sets up Small Bar in Bristol
2014 Starts brewing on a 200l kit in Small Bar
2015 Founds Left Handed Giant Brewing Co
2016 Opens Small Bar in Cardiff
2018 Launches crowdfunding for taproom,
brewery and restaurant at Left Handed
Giant and hits target in 55 minutes

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