Brewer to turn Cardiff bar into craft beer destination

chris rowlandsThe site of Cardiff’s former Fire Island bar is to be transformed into a craft beer bar after its owners Beatbox Bars went into administration.

Administrators from insolvency practitioners SFP have sold the Westgate Street premises to microbrewery Tiny Rebel, launched by Gazz Williams and Brad Cummings in Newport, south Wales, last year.

They are to convert the site into their first bar, called Urban Tap House, offering more than 100 different beers from around the world. It is due to open in mid-September, headed by bar manager Chris Rowlands (pictured).

The bar was part of a package, also including Cardiff bars Ten Feet Tall and Buffalo, that was put in administration in July, with SFP’s Daniel Plant and Simon Plant as joint administrators. Fire Island opened less than a year ago, specialising in craft beers, barbecue-style food and cocktails, including cocktails aged in barrels.

Tiny Rebel began brewing 18 months ago and achieved a turnover of £250,000 in its first year which is expected to double in 2013. It already has an on-site bar at its brewery in Measglas Industrial Estate, Newport.

Brad said: “We want to bring something different to the city centre and plan to build the perfect hangout for customers who want to experience quality food alongside quality local drinks.”

Beatbox Bars acquired the leases for Fire Island, Ten Feet Tall and Buffalo between 2005 and 2009. However, a major downturn in trade over the last winter put severe pressure on cash flow and led the bars into financial difficulties. The company had previously achieved an annual turnover of about £1.5million and employed 70 staff.

Daniel from SFP said: “This is yet another example of how the work of an insolvency practitioner can be crucial in managing the sale of an asset to maximise returns to creditors.”

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