Inside look: Wiper and True to open its new taproom next week

As Wiper and True gear up to open their brand new taproom in Bristol city centre, we chat to founder Michael Wiper about what we can expect

<p>Wiper and True will be adding to their St Werburghs family with a new taproom this month</p>

Wiper and True will be adding to their St Werburghs family with a new taproom this month

It’s unlikely that you would live in Bristol and not have heard of Wiper and True, the craft brewery that is based out of St Werburghs.

And it’s even more unlikely that you wouldn’t have heard of them recently, given that they are doing so well they are expanding and opening their new highly-anticipated large taproom in Old Market on 15 July.

But it started from humble beginnings and really is a local success story that showcases the incredible talent, passion and enthusiasm that Bristol harbours for craft brewing.

So where exactly did it all start? “We started as a group of friends making cider together down in Somerset and we’d go every autumn and collect apples from unwanted orchard produce,” explains founder Michael Wiper.

“It was pretty bad, to be honest, but it got the fun of it all going. That took me to making beer at home as a home brewer and myself, my wife Francesca and business partner Al True started making home beer. It got out of the phase of being awful and became pretty decent.

Today they are one of the leading craft breweries in Bristol

This was back in 2010, and Mr Wiper noticed that the reaction from friends was extremely positive. “We started to think about inviting people into the world of beer that we now knew, and that conversation became a business plan and here we are today,” he says.

It started fairly humbly, though, and they used other breweries and their equipment to experiment with brews and hone recipes. “We used their breweries in their downtime and started to try and sell it,” says Mr Wiper.

“We spent the first four years of our journey without our own brewery. It’s quite amazing really, as competitors let us use their own facilities which is an unusual thing but it’s something that’s really lovely about the beer industry is that it’s really supportive and friendly.

“We wouldn’t be here today without those accommodating and supporting breweries.”

Fast forward to today and Wiper and True have two sites in St Werburghs, which allowed them to grow and take control of what they have been doing - their main headquarters on York Street and a barrel store on Merstham Road.

Michael Wiper, Founder of Wiper and True

But Mr Wiper tells me how they ran out of capacity at that site years ago, and have been looking for a while for a third, more central Bristol location to take the business to the next level and put a venue into it.

On 15 July this month, the team will open their new taproom on City Business Park off Easton Road, a place that will allow them to hugely expand their brewing capacity and open the doors to allow people to truly celebrate their brewing process.

“We found the site of our dreams in 2020 and it’s taken us to this point to be nearly in and nearly open,” smiles Mr Wiper. “With the scale of industry that we are going into now, the production equipment takes a year to order.

“The brewing facility was ordered a year ago so there’s a huge amount of planning and forecasting that goes into it all.”

Wiper and True in the new Old Market Taproom

So, what can people expect from the new Old Market taproom site? “We’ve converted an industrial building in a car park in the city centre into a really welcoming beautiful taproom which will be all about being a welcoming and inclusive beer venue for all,” says Mr Wiper.

“We are trying to make it a really immersive experience so you can see right through to production through a big glass wall.

“You can sit next to the vessels, see the canning lines spinning around and the brew team at work making beer. You’ll be able to smell it and see everything that is at the very heart of the building and process. It’s about celebrating what we do and letting you see it all.

“It’s an opportunity for us to really show off what we are doing. The current taproom can’t be open at the same time as production going on so this will be a really lovely way to show people what we do.”

The new site is where IMI Engineering used to be and is 28,000sqft and will house beer production, offices, a new taproom to accompany the St Werburghs one, and a warehouse.

Eatchu will be in permanent residency at the new Wiper and True site

In an exciting move, Eatchu, the award-winning Japanese street food takeaway will be in permanent residency at the new site.

Aside from making sure it’s all running properly, Mr Wiper tells us that there are lots of plans for the taproom once it opens this month. “We want to deliver the best service as possible and make sure the beer is tasting the best it can,” he says.

“We have a number of different events that we are working on such as one with FareShare who use food that would have gone to waste, and we are working with the food team here to do a food and beer pairing to raise money for charity.

“We’ve got all kinds of bigger and smaller events planned. In August, it will be the first time we will do the Eat Bristol Brewery Trail which is exciting.”

Mr Wiper is clearly excited about this next step and the opening up of new opportunities. I wonder if it was something he always saw coming with his journey and the Wiper and True journey into craft brewing.

“No,” he laughs. “I thought we’d get it to the point we did at the St Werburghs site and then that would be that. We try and set ourselves a target about the business every five years so, in some ways, it has been quite a natural thing.

“I underestimated how much equipment and how many people we would need when it gets to this point. But that’s a really positive thing!”

And the plans for the future? To keep making Wiper and True beers and keep it all working to the same values as they have always worked to. They work to four pillars: constantly improving, a force for good, inclusive respect and celebrating success.

Well, success is something they can definitely celebrate. What’s Mr Wiper most excited about? “I can’t wait to sit in the beer garden,” beams Mr Wiper.

“We’ve turned this car park into a really amazing space. We’ve planted trees and dug flower beds so sitting in there when it’s a sun trap looking one way into a garden and one way into the brewery will be amazing.”