Rebellion Brewery, 24 Carat
The story of the Rebellion Beer Co starts in 1987 with the closure of the Thomas Wethered Brewery after 89 years on Marlow High Street.
Two friends, Tim Coombes and Mark Gloyens, met at school in Marlow at a time when the old Wethered Brewery was in full production. The smells and noises emanating from the brewery during their childhood were lodged firmly in their memory by the time they started thinking about grown-up things like career choices. Watching the old brewery disappear was almost too much to bear and so after years of chatting about the idea, they took the leap of faith and started their Rebellion in 1993.
By 1999 the brewery had outgrown its premises and was on the move to their current home on Bencombe Farm, where they occupy the old grain store and other redundant farm buildings. They are currently in the middle of a big expansion that includes a kegging line (their first) and new brewery kit that will double the brewing capacity. This year they expect to brew 3.5 million pints.
2015 saw the opening of a wonderful on-site brewery shop and taproom where they sell a staggering 25% of all the beer they brew. With knowledgeable, friendly staff at every turn, there are even free samples of beers on a set of ‘help yourself’ hand pulls. One other thing that really stands out when you visit is how much Rebellion are embedded in their local community. The locals bloody love them. There is always a real buzz in the shop, even mid-afternoon, mid-week when we visited. Most of the punters were flashing their Rebellion Beer Club membership card. “The Rebellion Beer Club was started in 2002 with the aim of thanking our regular customers for their commitment and loyalty to their local brewery. The scheme has gone from strength to strength. We currently have over 4000 active members” explains Mark.
This interaction with members means they really understand what their local clientele want. “We pride ourselves as traditional brewers of high quality, consistent real ale” Stu Sutherland, who looks after marketing, tells us. So how did this week’s beer, 24 Carat, come about?
“After 22 years of brewing traditional ales, we were looking for something a little different and the American Pale Ale was a style we fancied. Full of hop character you should serve this beer chilled and be looking out for tropical aromas and a distinctive bittersweet flavour”. We’ll do just that Stu.
“100% of the beer we brew is sold within a 30-mile radius of Marlow” explains Mark proudly. “Not anymore” we joked as we placed an order for several thousand bottles that we’d be sending all over the country. It was only because of a number of Rebellion members badgering us that we even got to hear of them. So it’s them we should thank as we sit back and enjoy this week’s beer.