February 26, 2017 by Kay Byrne
A new microbrewery and bar is set to open in Swansea Marina this summer and the people behind it are well-known Mumbles licensees Jo and Richard Bennett.
The couple, who have made a huge success of running the Pilot of Mumbles for the last four years, have bought the old sea angling centre at Pilot House Wharf.
Richard, who already brews his own beers for the Pilot, intends to convert the ground floor into a microbrewery and create a craft ale bar on the first floor.
He is excited about the ales they will be able to offer: “All our beers will be new, except for our Furr lager beer. The new brewery will be designed to make hop-forward keg beers so new beers will be created to take advantage of this,” he said.
“We will also be selling the best beers available today. Names like The Kernel, Beavertown, Crafty Devil and Cloudwater etc. It’s all very exciting. A new brewery, new beers, new location, new branding. “
Richard intended the bar to have keg beers only, but cask ales may be on the menu too. He said: “The intention is to be keg only but some arm twisting has already begun!”
Jo explained how the project came about: “Whilst up in London at the Great British Beer Festival we visited several keg bars, and Richard thought it would be great to have a keg bar in Swansea. He had started kegging some of his beers and loves the flavours that come through especially as many are unfined so you also get the flavour of the yeast.
“We weren’t actively looking for anywhere but when we saw the building on the Marina we thought it would be perfect as it is such a fantastic location. As it was on two floors we thought it would be a great opportunity to have another small brewery set up to specialise in keg beers and put in a small canning plant. Having two small breweries means that we can brew small batches and keep experimenting.”
With lots of new flats, a creative village and new student accommodation in the pipeline for the area around the former sea angling centre, the new bar is likely to attract a wide clientele.
Despite the exciting new development, the couple will not be taking their eye off the Pilot, which was named Swansea Camra’s pub of the year in 2014.
“The new place will be branded to be distinct and unconnected to The Pilot. The Pilot pub and brewery will continue as is, we will not be taking our eye off the ball,” said Richard.
Jo added: “This is Richard’s project, I’m keen to help set it up, but my heart and soul are in the Pilot, we’ve worked hard to build up the business here and we are so lucky to have such wonderful customers, their support has been invaluable.
“So the plan is for Rhys Pillai, who currently brews with Richard, to manage the Marina brewery. We will employ a bar manager for the Marina, I will stay in the Pilot and Richard will work between the two. Longer term, we will probably get someone to help Richard out brewing at The Pilot.”
The couple are looking for a good name for the new bar, so if you have any suggestions, please leave a comment below.