Two Gwent breweries are at the forefront of a move by the Co-op to double the number of its small / local producers.

The community retailer is adding 11 small and micro-breweries to its range, initially showcasing an extra 23 ales across 80 of its Welsh food stores including Tiny Rebel and Castles.

Newport-based Tiny Rebel, which will mark its fifth anniversary early next year with a move to a new site in Rogerstone. The award winning brewery - which stemmed from a passion for home brewing and a desire to 'create something different' – will now supply two of its brews to the Co-op: its Dirty Stop Out and Cwtch – which last year won Champion Beer of Britain.

And, the family run Castles Brewery, based in Portskewett, near Caldicot, sees its first contract with a national retailer come as it marks its second anniversary of trading.

It will now supply bottles of its best-selling ales, White Knight and Portcullis, to the Co-op. It estimates selling around 50,000 pints through the Co-op over the coming year, and will supply around 80 of the Co-op’s food stores.

Simon Dryell, ranging manager for the Co-op in Wales, said: “It’s exciting to collaborate with smaller breweries. The quality, passion and innovation of smaller producers and family-run enterprises makes these prized local products and we are delighted to give them pride of place in our stores. We know that the provenance of food and drink really matters to our customers, we are committed to investing in the Welsh economy and providing new opportunities to showcase and celebrate Wales’ fantastic local food and drink producers.”

Nathan Micic, of Castles Brewery, said: “This is fantastic news. We are delighted to have this contract. It is a huge step forward for us which we believe will create new opportunities and open up new doors for the business, whilst building continuing to build brand awareness. Doing business with the Co-op makes great commercial sense – we pride ourselves on taste and quality and we know that this is an approach shared by the Co-op.”

Bradley Cummings, co-founder of Tiny Rebel, said: “This is very exciting news, we are delighted to be working with the Co-op. Its heritage, values and local, community-based approach is a great fit with our business. To reach more Welsh communities is a great opportunity.

"We are constantly asked where our ales can be bought and it can be difficult for a micro-brewery to gain a listing so this contract win comes at the perfect time – it will make our beers more accessible, supporting our business development as we move to our new brewery in the new year, while building awareness of our brand and opening up new markets for our business in communities across Wales.”