Prosecco On Tap With Bubble Bros

Two men, one van and everyone’s favourite fizz

Prosecco. Ice cold, on tap and served from a cute little Italian van by two even cuter barmen. Carlsberg doesn’t do prosecco (because it’s a brewery), but it’s clearly missing a trick.

Meet Joe Bruce and Ben Broad, also known as the Bubble Bros. Together, with their vintage three-wheeled Piaggio Ape, cleverly converted into a bar serving Glera Frizzante by the barrel, they hit up festivals and events across the country to lubricate (ahem) revellers. It’s a simple concept, but one that works – the company launched just last summer and already, Bruce and Broad have purchased a second van, with plans underway for a third vehicle.

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Bruce credits his wife Lucy with their success. “She came up with the idea at Wilderness a few years ago. Originally, she suggested a prosecco and poppadoms van,” he laughs. When the opportunity arose to buy the Piaggio Ape, Bruce jumped at the chance and knew just the man to ask. He met Broad almost a decade ago, while working at a London advertising agency. They pair instantly hit it off, regularly attending festivals together. Bruce remains in the ad game, but Broad now runs a family business producing leather handbags. Bubble Bros increasingly consumes a lot of their downtime – “At the moment, our weekends are completely full up. Even winter is looking pretty busy with Christmas parties and fairs,” says Bruce.

The van is particularly popular at garden parties, where guests tend to serve themselves. “It’s a little more fun that way. But we can also pour and distribute drinks for more formal occasions, such as weddings.”

For those of you tempted to raise an eyebrow at bubbles from a barrel, Bruce insists the company is very particular about the type of prosecco it offers, adhering firmly to European regulations on the matter.

“The rules on what can and can’t be called prosecco changed in 2009. Only sparkling wine from a certain region can bear the name and it must be served in a bottle. It took a long time for us to find a vineyard that made a decent prosecco and was happy to put it in barrels.”

The pair’s struggle to secure an obliging vineyard is understandable – there’s a hell of a lot of bad barrelled prosecco out there. So why not switch to champagne?

“If we could get a vineyard that would put champagne into a barrel for us, it would be a miracle! They’re even stricter than the prosecco guys.”

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Besides, these days, prosecco seems to have the edge on champers. Sales of the Italian sparkling wine at major supermarkets now total £356 million, a growth of 34 per cent in the last year, while champagne sales rose just one per cent, to £251 million. Bruce isn’t surprised.

“Champagne is a very high-quality grape produced in certain way and has much stronger notes than prosecco. From my experience, it’s something you have a couple of glasses of on a special occasion before moving onto something else. Prosecco, on the other hand, has lighter notes, which means it’s easier to drink for longer and also makes a great base ingredient for cocktails. Price is another factor. You can get a great bottle of prosecco for under a tenner, but will rarely find a decent champagne for less than £25.”

Prosecco trumps champagne, then. Which is why the reported global shortage of the stuff earlier this year had middle-class inebriates reaching for their smelling salts. “I think that may have been more of a marketing ploy than reality,” says Bruce. “Originally, prosecco was anything made with a Glera grape. When the rules changed, everyone panicked and a rumour started that we were going to run out. Apparently, we’ve had a couple of very good summers, though. I’m sure there’ll be more than enough for another few years.”

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So the Bubble Bros (and the nation) can breathe a sigh of relief – our favourite fizz is going nowhere just yet. In fact, Bruce and Broad’s little van has become so popular, it’s given rise to a host of copycats, says Bruce. “Over the last six months, the guy who fitted out our van has been approached by at least a dozen people asking him to recreate the Bubble Bros concept. It can be frustrating if they’re simply doing a carbon copy of our idea, but it’s nice when you see others being creative with the concept – it keeps us on our toes.”








Hire the Bubble Bros for £650 (includes one barrel of prosecco, serving 160 glasses, and two staff for three hours). Additional barrels cost £350 each, bubblebros.co.uk




Posted in Food and Drink

by Alix O'Neill
on on 11 August 2016


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