via Birmingham Mail by David Bentley
Fancy a drink from a bar that’s inside a fire engine? Then you’re in luck. Bizarre though it might sound, this is the latest new bar in Birmingham.
Officially launched on February 9 at the NEC’s Genting Arena, The Tipple Truck is the only fire engine bar in the country. Once a working fire engine based at Smethwick, it’s gone from quenching fires to quenching thirsts and is fitted with the technology to let customers pour their own drinks.
Where there was once water pumped through hoses to tackle fires, there is now beer.
The engine uses an Oyster card style system, so people buy credit, take their card to the pumps, and choose which drink to sample.
Director Richard Brown said: “While we can of course run The Tipple Truck as a normal service bar, we believe the self-pour will be hugely popular, as it means customers can get right up close to the fire engine. Also, because we will be selling new and exciting craft beers, brewed by small micro-breweries that people may not have come across before, customers don’t have to go straight for a full or half pint: they have the opportunity to taste them all and see which ones they like best, as they only pay for what they pour.”
Co-director Mel Evans said: “Giving people the chance to try something new is at the heart of our business. Incredibly bored with traditional beers and lagers, you can imagine our excitement when we discovered the amazing taste and variety of craft beers being brewed right here in the UK. Our joy soon turned to frustration when we realized how few bars offer a decent selection on keg so we decided to do something about it. The Craft Engine Limited and its first outlet, The Tipple Truck, were born, to fulfill our mission to take awesome craft beers to the people – and, hopefully, to have a few leftovers to finish up ourselves.”
Mel and Richard are now planning to take the fire engine to local events.
Mel, who is based in Sutton Coldfield, added: “We have a passion for amazing craft beer and it is hard for some small brewers to get into some pub chains so we thought this was a brilliant way of showcasing them and taking them out to people. We are hoping to do festivals and street food events as well as corporate bookings.”
The beers on sale will change on a regular basis, and will initially be sourced by local beer expert and cellar man Jason Greene.
Jason said: “I’ve been working with brewers and landlords across the Midlands for over 25 years, and loved the idea of taking the best of the brews out and about, rather than relying on people traveling to one set venue. While I have played a big part in sourcing the beers for launch, what The Tipple Truck is really about is getting customers to tell us what they love – not just of the beers we are already serving, but others they have sampled anywhere in the country so we can add the best to our stock list.”
Photo: Dale Martin