A PUB in Barry is brushing off competition from pubs in the likes of London and Liverpool as they are once again nominated in the ‘UK’s best independent craft beer bars’ category at the Society of Independent Brewers awards.

There’s a lot for the people of Barry to be proud about in the town and one thing in particular they can be especially proud of is having one of the best venues to drink quality, local craft ale.

Craft Republic in the Goodsheds is not like any other bar or pub you’ll go to – that might be the ad slogan seen plastered on walls of thousands of pubs in Britain, however how many of those pubs were built by their owners – who had no previous publican experience - entirely from scratch, at the start of lockdown, with a bespoke keg to tap system that ensures the quality of the ales they are drawing?

Barry And District News: Craft Republic is nominated as one of the best craft ale bars in the UKCraft Republic is nominated as one of the best craft ale bars in the UK (Image: Newsquest)

It’s that keg-to-tap system that fascinated us when we made our latest visit to the Craft Republic.

Co-owner Tim Whalley told us builders thought he was mad wanting to drill holes through a brand new walk-in fridge wall, but it was all for the quality of the pint.

When those kegs of ale roll into Craft Republic they go straight into the fridge, keeping them at four degrees – the ideal temperature for the beers - and then when they are ready to be used they are hooked up to what has to be one of the shortest lines in the UK, running through the wall of the fridge straight to the wall on the other side where, behind the counter, you’ll see the taps - all of this allowing for easier maintained and cleaner lines. 

Barry And District News: A highly unique keg systemA highly unique keg system (Image: Newsquest)

In fact, everything about Craft Republic is bespoke because Tim and wife Claire built the whole thing from scratch during lockdown.

They were one of the first sites to open in the Goodsheds in August 2020 and since then they have served around 3,800 different beers!

They are not tied to any breweries or groups meaning they pick every single keg that comes into their pub and they’ve kept seating service only.

On the surface of it, many often find their place propping up a bar (I know I have), however Craft Republic use that seating service to provide a better quality experience.

Mr Whalley explained it can be tricky deciding what ale to order when they often change and the added pressure of a queue building behind you at the bar could force you into the wrong decision.

However, with table service, you can discuss what’s on offer and what might take you fancy, and the system also removes the dreaded bar queue jumper (pet hate of ours).

Barry And District News: Craft Republic is found in the GoodshedsCraft Republic is found in the Goodsheds (Image: Newsquest)

Barry And District News: Husband and wife team Tim and Claire WhalleyHusband and wife team Tim and Claire Whalley (Image: Newsquest)

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The Craft Republic has been celebrated by SIBA three of the four years it has existed and the bar won the award in 2022.

So why are the former software engineer and digital marketing expert so good at being publicans?

“We’re fully independent,” said Mrs Whalley. “You’re looking at the two people that make all the decisions and know absolutely everything about this bar because we built it, and our team are fantastic and knowledgeable which means they are able to help and advise.”

Mr Whalley added: “We want to break down the barriers of craft beer and create a place where you feel comfortable and confident to ask questions.”

Craft Republic is up against Candid Beer in Stafford, Dead Crafty Crafty Beer Co. in Liverpool, Green Goddess in Blackheath, and Vocation & Co. in Sheffield for the title.

The SIBA Business Awards 2024 will take place in Liverpool on Wednesday, March 13 where the winners will be announced.

Got a story in Barry? Email harry.jamshidian@newsquest.co.uk.