A LOCAL independent business is celebrating two recent wins.
Craft Republic is a bar and bottle shop, owned by husband-and-wife team Claire and Tim Whalley. It opened in August 2020 and – despite the challenges of a global pandemic and various lockdowns – has won in the ‘bar’ category of the Cardiff Life Awards, on top of earning a Great Taste star for their Barry Island gin.
The Barry Island Gin, created by the pair and now a part of Barry Island Spirits Co, has “a quartet of blood orange, lime, juniper and thyme, with subtle spice notes”.
The drink was given a 1-star in the Great Tastes 2021with judges describing it as “beautifully balanced” adding: “There’s a delightfully soft aromatic lead on the nose. Orange is dominant, but backed up by bright, yet rounded spice notes.”
Co-owner Mrs Whalley said: “We started the gin to be a house drink at our bar originally – we never intended it to be stand alone. Barry Island Spirits Co really is an accidental business.”
The beverage proved popular – even earning praise from former Head Sommelier at The Hinds Head in Bray (a Michelin starred pub run by world renowned experimental chef, Heston Blumenthal) which has stocked Barry Island Gin since December 2020.
The couple now sell the drink in their bottle shop, distribute it across the UK, and have since launched Barry Island Rum, along with Welsh Organic triple-distilled vodka and a Welsh Dry Pink Gin in new custom bottles.
Mr Whalley said: “We love where we live, and we always wanted our products to be something that positively represented Barry and the Vale. We opened in the middle of a global pandemic and after a tough year this recognition from Great Taste really means a lot to us.”
While still basking in the joy of their Great Taste award the entrepreneurs won in the ‘bar’ category in Cardiff Life Awards.
“We asked if we could apply and they said yes as it was based on Cardiff and surrounding areas,” said Mrs Whalley.
“There were some heavy contenders, so we’re blown away to have won; it’s amazing.
“Our vision was to be a proper place for the community and local people – that was important and people have stuck with us, which is fantastic.”
“Even though Craft Republic is just over a year old – with half of that time as a shop – we’ve stayed operating throughout; we’re constantly innovating, and we’ve had amazing feedback.”
The announcement of their Cardiff Life Award reads: ““A shining example of operating deftly through a pandemic, constantly adapting with a cool bottle shop offering and unique drink brands.”