Tiny Rebel pulls out of Great British Beer Festival

By James Beeson

- Last updated on GMT

Price to pay: Tiny Rebel will not attend the Great British Beer Festival
Price to pay: Tiny Rebel will not attend the Great British Beer Festival
Welsh craft brewery Tiny Rebel has announced it will pull out of this year’s Great British Beer Festival (GBBF), accusing the organisers of “dictating how we should represent ourselves and our beer”.

The brewery had booked a bar and host a beer tasting at the festival, which takes place at London Olympia between 7-11 August, but has now announced it will not be attending the event.

Posting on Twitter and Facebook, the brewery said: “For those of you wondering if we’ve got a bar at @gbbf this year – we were booked in but have now declined the invitation.”

“We couldn’t justify spending £11k+ to feature as one of the main brewery bars only for the festival committee to dictate how we should represent ourselves and our beer.”

'Not cutting ties'

The brewery insisted it was not cutting ties with the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), and would continue to supply festivals that wished to stock its beer.

“We were due to do a beer tasting session on the Thursday – if you’d already bought tickets for it we’re very sorry that, we won’t be attending,” it added.

Speaking to The Morning Advertiser​, Tiny Rebel's marketing manager Niall Thomas stated that the festival organisers had refused to let the brewery serve its beers in a 'KeyKeg-only' format, which the brewery believed was the best way to represent the styles it wished to bring along. 

"We've got a lot of really cool stuff coming up in the next few weeks that we'll be packaging in KeyKeg," he said. "It's stuff that we thought would be great examples of what we do and what we thought would offer customers something new and exciting, and might even attract new customers to real ale, so we proposed an all KeyKeg bar, in line with CAMRA's definitions of "Real Ale".

"There was concern among the festival organisers as KeyKeg has been unreliable in recent years. We offered solutions to the potential problems based on our greater experience with the format, however the only response was an offer for 6 cask lines and 4 keg lines." 

Cost 'could not be justified'

Thomas continued: "We felt that the beers we have coming up are best represented in KeyKeg and we did not foresee a problem with serving them in tis CAMRA-approved format. Unfortunately the festival committee felt differently and were unwilling to negotiate. As a result we felt that the considerable cost could not be justified. 

A spokesperson for CAMRA said: "Great British Festival organisers have always required breweries to ensure that their bars operate successfully in the challenging Olympia environment to give the tens of thousands of visitors to the festival each day the best experience possible. Tiny Rebel came up with a great proposal for this year but, unfortunately, we couldn't find a compromise which suited their strategy and worked for us on an operational level.

"CAMRA is disappointed if any brewery chooses not to participate in the Great British Beer Festival and Tiny Rebel is no exception. Tiny Rebel has been a great addition to the festival in previous years and we very much hope that they will return to future events. Fundamentally, Tiny Rebel and CAMRA have a good working relationship, and we hope to welcome them back in years to come."

Earlier this year, Tiny Rebel’s co-founder Brad Cummings failed​ in a bid to be elected to the National Executive of CAMRA. Cummings had stood​ on a platform promising to ban JDW vouchers and kick sexism out of the organisation, calling the organisation’s Revitalisation Project “too little, too late”.

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