As part of a birthday celebration for one of the bloggers, I decided to look for a decent beer festival to go to somewhere out with our native Scotland. This idea would grow arms and legs and would eventually become our #NotSoTinyRoadTrip. As massive fans of Newport’s Tiny Rebel Brewing Co, this would see The Hoppycraft team undertake a monumental 762 mile round trip (In truth this ended up closer to 1000 miles due to getting lost!) to partake in Tiny Rebel Brewing Co’s Not so Tiny Beer Festival, being held in their very own beer mecca the Urban Tap House on Westgate Street in Cardiff!
Ahead of our arrival I touched based with Mike Owen in Operations at Tiny Rebel to discuss my plan, far from thinking we were crazy Mike liked the idea and got on board. He kindly obliged by helping us by promoting our #NotSoTinyRoadTrip and was also kind enough to field a few questions about Tiny Rebel Brewing Co, the stories behind the success so far and plans for the future.
What do you attribute the success of Tiny Rebel to?
A lot of hard work, a great blend in our team, our consistent beers and branding. There’s a long way to go yet before we use the word ‘success’, however.
How many people do does Tiny Rebel employ now?
Overall now, including Urban Tap House, we have 35 employees.
What do you believe makes Tiny Rebel stand out against the backdrop of so many new and exciting breweries in the UK?
Our dedication to consistency using high quality ingredients while kicking out pretentiousness is key to what we do. We’re all beer geeks and aren’t afraid to hide it and we believe it’s reflected in our branding. We’ve named beers after a certain military acronym (not many people know that ‘FUBAR’, to us, actually means ‘Funked Up By A Rebel’), a famous move from a beloved ‘90s beat-‘em-up, and Cwtch to keep things Welshy. Our beers as much as beer names are designed to be relatable and not take themselves too seriously.
What drove you to open your very own pub (Urban Tap House)?
We didn’t intend to open it so early, but the opportunity arose and we had to take it. Cardiff lacked a place where we could get some of the world’s best beer and cider, so it always an ambition to put that right. It’s now a focal point for a night out in Cardiff, with five rooms, two arcade machines and up to 200 beers and ciders available at one time it really is a place to get lost in. And you can soak it up with awesome burgers, which were voted Wales’ third-best in a recent Wales Online poll. We’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved so far.
Any plans for more pubs on the Horizon (Urban pop up in Newport becoming permanent)?
Urban Pop Up becoming Urban Tap House, Newport is high on our list of priorities at the moment. We have closed, yes, but we will be spending time weighing up the bar’s overall success, where we had some great feedback, and to see whether it’s viable to set up in the location we had full-time.
Are there any plans afoot to move to bigger premises and expand the brewery?
Upgrading our brewery and upping our volume is something we are thinking about. At the moment we are staying put and making the most of what we have but we will be looking to firm things up in the next couple of years. The potential location(s) of a new brewery is classified information at this point!
Would you consider moving out with Newport?
No. We are keen to retain our identity as Newport’s only brewery and that is a key part of our identity. Recent developments in Newport, such as the regeneration of the Market area (which led to us opening our Pop Up bar in May), the rise of new, great businesses and the new Friar’s Walk shopping centre due to be opened this autumn show the city is moving in the right direction, and it’s something we want to be part of and contribute towards where we can.
Any future collaboration you can let us know about?
Keep an eye out at the usual places online…
Finally we have to ask – What’s the story behind the bear?
The bear came about after a long search for a brand identity. Our designer, Tamsin Baker came up with several designs and one in particular stood out – a dead rabbit. We took the rabbit, cut his ears down, brought him to life and he became a bear in a hoodie. It’s a story of evolution.
The forced of evil on the road, mainly the M6 conspired against us and we missed getting to the brewery on Friday as planned. Despite this minor setback Mike was kind enough to arrange for us to visit on Saturday morning (by no means an easy feat after a night out in the Urban Tap House) where we were lucky enough to be allowed into the brewery and were shown around by Brewer Gethin Roberts who was also kind enough to pose for a picture.