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New female brewing duo drop the alcohol but not the flavour

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DROPPING the alcohol, not the flavour – that’s the mantra of The Drop Bear Beer Co. a new brewery that brings female chutzpah to the male-dominated world of brewing.

Founded in Mumbles earlier this year by ‘Melburnian’ Sarah McNena, and ‘Swansea Jack’ Joelle Drummond, Drop Bear’s non-alcoholic beer is already making waves.

A decidedly Welsh-Australian enterprise, the brewery’s quirky name has antipodean roots along with a personal connection for the couple, who met in Sarah’s native Australia.

Explains Sarah, “The Drop Bear is essentially a bit of fun Australians have with visitors. Tourists are told to look out for this mythical koala bear dropping on them from the trees – and Joelle fell for the joke too!”

The pair aim to ‘disrupt’ the traditional view of the non-alcoholic beer market, and have successfully produced 100% natural beverages that are below 0.5% ABV, vegan-friendly, low calorie, low sugar, and additive-free.

At 0.3 ABV Tropical IPA is – as its name suggests – ‘tropical, fruity, and sessionable’, while the 0.4 ABV Yuzu Pale Ale is ‘fruity, tart, and fresh’. They will be joined this autumn by Drop Bear’s stout which promises to be ‘dark, edgy, and packing a’tude.’

At 25 and 27 respectively, Joelle and Sarah are at the heart of the healthy lifestyle-conscious millennial market they want to capture.

Says Joelle, “We want to prove that real beer doesn’t need alcohol to have fun, and we aren’t scared to push boundaries. We are millennials, and they are the fastest growing demographic. They and we want something with more kick and excitement, and a brand they can relate to.”

Likewise, female empowerment Joelle says is at the core of Drop Bear’s ethos, and the pair are keen to champion women in what is a predominantly male-dominated arena.

“We are the only alcohol-free craft beer company in the UK that’s run by women.”

Local government project manager Sarah, and former French and Italian translator Joelle, began their brewing journey in their kitchen.
Apart from Sarah having previously made some homebrew, the pair were complete novices when it came to creating a craft beer – but they knew what they wanted to achieve.

Says Joelle, “We started with a big saucepan, a jam thermometer, and a load of grain and gave it a go!”

By trial and error “there were long nights and an exploding fermenter”, the pair eventually came up with recipes they liked – and enlisted the help of experts in the industry to ensure their beers would pass muster in the highly competitive brewing sector.

Explains Sarah, “As we don’t have a brewing background, we contacted a master brewer and sommelier who looked at our recipes and gave us advice.”

Only a couple of months into production and Drop Bear beers are already making significant in-roads with a Michelin-starred restaurant a customer, and the opportunity to showcase their beer at an event in the House of Commons. Also, the beers are available to buy online from www.drydrinker.com.

However, without the current capacity to brew on a commercial scale at home, for now, Drop Bear beers are produced in Yorkshire, but the plan is to bring the whole process to Wales as soon as possible.

Says Joelle, “We want to show what Wales and women have to offer in the brewing industry.”

Joelle and Sarah have been helped in their brewing adventure by Cywain – a Menter a Busnes delivered project that supports the development of growth orientated businesses in the food and drink sector in Wales.

Says Joelle, “Cywain has been great, especially with networking opportunities and advice on running the financial side of the business. They have run a number of workshops and 1-2-1 sessions covering a range of topics such as sales, distribution channels, and business health.

“All of this is provided free of charge, which I’m sure you can understand is key for a business in its early days. Cywain are also just generally lovely people and we look forward to attending a number of events with them in the near future!”

Says Cywain Development Manager, Nerys Adams, “”It’s been great working with Joelle and Sarah over the past couple of months and seeing massive progression in such a short space of time. The girls have taken full advantage of the support on offer from Cywain attending a finance surgery, a sales and marketing workshop to name but a few.

They are working very hard to establish themselves in a male dominated sector and I’m excited to see what happens next for them. I’m sure they’re going to make a great success of the business and I’m delighted that Cywain is playing a part in helping them achieve their ambitions”.

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Business

Colourful new eatery ‘The Junction’ opens in Gorseinon

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Junction Bar and Kitchen has just opened in Gorseinon 

A trendy new restaurant has just opened in Gorseinon – and has already been met with an optimistic reaction from locals. ‘The Junction Bar & Kitchen’ has opened upstairs at the Gorseinon Events Centre (known by some as the “GEC”) in Gorseinon High Street and is set to be a huge success, with delicious fry-up breakfasts and mouth-watering burgers, with loaded fries set to be added to the menu very soon.

The events centre itself was first built as a theatre in the early 1900s but, as the years have passed, has developed into a multi-purpose indoor events arena, which now welcomes a mixt of well-known artists and up-and-coming performers and DJs. The venue has two events spaces, two bars, a recording studio and a “DJ tuition room” with access to an extensive vinyl library. For more stories about Gorseinon, go here.

The GEC first began serving meals during the pandemic. Staff members cooked them in the venue’s then-small kitchen, for delivery and takeaway. Public demand grew very quickly, staff say, so management soon added a full-kitchen and a seating area post-lockdown which has proven to work wonders.

Read more: Date and full details announced for Swansea Christmas Parade 2022

Since then, the seating area has grown and staff have further developed the space – ultimately turning it into an open and welcoming eatery, which opened to the public on Monday, October 24. The venue is currently open from 9am to 2pm, serving breakfast and lunch, and will soon be open from 4pm to 8pm as well, offering burgers, loaded fries and other evening meals.

Staff member Jason Thomas said: “The GEC is an events centre which offers a variety of events including world-class DJs like Ben Nicky who is performing in December and up-and-coming DJs, musicians and tribute acts. During the lockdown, the GEC began to offer dinners for takeaway and delivery and had a great response so far. You can read more stories about Gorseinon here.

A fry up on the breakfast menu at The Junction (Image: Junction Bar & Kitchen)
Junction will soon be offering these delicious-looking burgers (Image: Junction Bar & Kitchen)
Inside Junction Bar and Kitchen (Image: Junction Bar & Kitchen)

“People have seen pictures of the burgers we’ll be making [on social media] and say they’re really excited to try them, the pictures are going viral!” he added.

In weeks to come, staff plan on showing big sports events, including Wales games, on the big screens in the GEC and expanding their menu and offerings in The Junction.

In the mean-time, The Junction Bar & Kitchen is servings its breakfast menu from 9am to 2pm. The Junction Bar & Kitchen can be found upstairs at Gorseinon Events Centre at 12 High Street, Gorseinon, Swansea, SA4 4BX.

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Yodel creates over 40 new jobs in Llanelli as it gears up for the festive season

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UK INDEPENDENT parcel carrier Yodel has announced that it is looking to recruit 49 new colleagues at its Llanelli site. This latest drive comes as the business prepares for what is expected to be a busy festive period.

Yodel’s Llanelli depot is a key site in its nationwide network, handling millions of parcels every year and serving customers across South Wales. Recent years have seen a dramatic growth in e-commerce, feeding sustained demand for parcel delivery services with Yodel expecting to handle over 200 million parcels this year. This latest recruitment drive follows a series of infrastructure investments and will support the business as it scales up its operations for peak.

Mike Hancox, CEO of Yodel, commented: “There are a range of roles available based at our Llanelli depot that supports our deliveries across South Wales. Christmas is always our busiest time of the year, but with 2022 bringing additional World Cup related shopping, we’re anticipating a festive season like never before. By joining Yodel, you will become part of a nationwide family and have options to work either full or part-time to suit your lifestyle.”

Our neighborhood courier roles suit a wide variety of lifestyles, and no previous experience is required. In recent years Yodel has developed a specialism in delivering parcels for growing and well-known retailer names.

For more information, please visit https://yodelopportunities.co.uk/ or text ‘Deliver’ to 84433 to learn more about courier roles at Yodel, find out about the values behind the business and apply for current opportunities.

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Community groups receive a share of cash from Ogi’s community fund ‘Cefnogi’

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COMMUNITY groups across Pembrokeshire, Monmouthshire and the Vale of Glamorgan have each received a cash injection, thanks to Ogi’s new ‘Cefnogi’ local support fund.

Wales’s homegrown internet company, Ogi has given over £4,000 so far to community groups in Pembrokeshire, Monmouthshire and the Vale of Glamorgan, to date, with everything from community gardens to coffee mornings being supported by the broadband provider’s micro-fund.

Building on the company’s sponsorship of local grassroots activities at Haverfordwest AFC, Llantwit Major RFC and Portskewett and Sudbrook FC, the ‘Cefnogi’ micro-fund offers small, local groups a cash injection to support activities that directly benefit their communities.

Speaking about the fund, Head of Brand and Engagement, Sarah Vining, said: “Investing in our communities is an important part of our plan to bring full fibre connectivity to towns and villages across south Wales.

“This initiative, bringing small, but no less vital, cash injections to thriving local community groups is our way of giving back to those that are providing much needed support locally.”

The fund, set up by the regional Community Liaison team, offers grants of around £250 to local grassroots groups in the broadband providers roll our areas.

Community Liaison Officer, Martin Jones, one of the team who originally came up with the idea for the fund, said: “I’m thrilled to see so many groups being supported by the ‘Cefnogi’ fund.

“Community really is at the heart of all we do here at Ogi, and giving back through our micro-fund is making a real difference to the local groups we support.”

Ogi’s support extends to volunteering opportunities too, with teams across the businesses having supported the clearing of residents gardens, hosting coffee mornings and redeveloping community spaces.

For more information on the ‘Cefnogi’ micro-fund visit www.ogi.wales/support

The latest round of the fund is accepting applications until the end of October 2022.

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