Tiny Rebel has gone from strength to strength in recent years. They have grown from home brewing in the garage only four years ago, to a £1.2 million pound turnover in year three and an invite from the Prime Minister to 10 Downing Street for St David’s day! Suffice to say the past three years, since swapping mechanical and electrical engineering for full time brewing, have been fruitful and exciting, to say the least, for the founding team at Newport’s very own Tiny Rebel Brewing Co!
From their base in Maesglas Industrial Estate in Newport, Tiny Rebel have launched their very own craft beer rebellion which has seen capacity and output increase from 80,000 litres at the very beginning to 480,000 litres, picking up a fistful of Champion Beer of Wales competition wins, (including a clean sweep in 2013!), and now see exports reaching nine different countries and as far afield as Japan! Their brewing prowess has also led to them teaming up with fellow craft beer giants, such as Dark Star, Beavertown, and Arbour, to create a few very notable collaborations. The Tiny Rebel brewing empire moved to the next level in 2013 with the opening of Cardiff’s 1st ever Craft Beer Haven Urban Tap House.
But don’t think that despite having achieved so much in a short space of time that Newport’s only brewery are ready to slow down just yet!
We were lucky enough ahead of our #NotSoTinyRoadTrip to be able to put a few questions to Gareth “Gazz” Williams head brewer and one half of the brother-in-law duo behind The Tiny Rebel Brewing Co to learn a bit more about the journey so far and what makes the beer behind the bear.
What drove you to take your brewing beyond the garage and start Tiny Rebel Brewing?
What were the biggest challenges you faced? / continue to face?
Financial backing was very difficult during start up, especially 3 years ago when banks were not lending to industries such as ours. Hop supply is also a headache these days with the in demand hops being very scarce!
How have you seen the industry change in the past 3 years?
Beers have become hoppier and extreme in the last few years with regards to big IPAs and pale ales. Keg demand has also grown rapidly over the last few years.
Do you believe the resurgence in brewing in the UK is a craft beer fad? Or is it here to stay?
I wouldn’t call it fad, I think people have realised there is more out there other than mass produced tasteless beers. People are wanting quality over quantity and this is showing all through the food & drink industry.
Take us through a life in the day of a brewer at Tiny Rebel?
It’s not as glamorous as people think, it’s hard graft that goes into making small batch beer. We double brew most days which involves two shifts, start 5am and finish 6pm
Is there a particular hop variety you like to use, if so which bittering and which aroma hops?
One aroma hop that has really impressed us at the moment is the Mosaic variety from America. A new hop called Jester grown in the UK has pushed the boundaries for UK hops recently. My personal favourite in Nelson Sauvin from NZ. Columbus is a good solid bittering hop that you can’t go wrong with.
Do you have any advice for budding home brewers looking to do it professionally?
Don’t do it 🙂
Is there any new beers lined up for release?
We usually try to create a new beer every month, these can range from beers with new hops to barrel aged sours! Look out for some new American hops in the coming months!
Top 5 beers at the moment?
Not in any order – Stone Brewery ‘Go to IPA’
Theakstone ‘Old Peculiar’
Mahrs Brau ‘Weisse’
Tiny Rebel ‘ The Full Nelson’
Golden Road Brewery ‘Point the way IPA’
If you happen to find yourself in Newport, and you are feeling a bit rebellious, be sure to swing by and check out the brewery as these guys are the best thing to come out of Newport since Goldie Lookin Chain!