Butcombe Brewery, Wrington
Butcombe, the West Country’s fastest growing brewery, originally launched in 1978 and the current owners – Guy and Becky Newell – took over ownership ten years ago. During that time, Butcombe has grown from six to nineteen freehold pubs and volume sales of its core beer brands have doubled. Its flagship beer, Butcombe Bitter, has become the most consumed pint in the West Country.
The Brewery has also extended its distribution from its heartland, into the Cotswolds, built its own well on site, so that its beer tastes better than ever, and grown its retail presence so that its bottled beer range can be found in approximately 600 supermarkets, convenience stores and off licences across the UK.
The Brewery has won a number of national awards, most recently winning the ‘Food and Drink’ category at the Made in South West Awards and the top prize of Business Brewery of the Year 2014 from SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers). Visit news item (29 July 2014).
Butcombe is also ranked 24th in volume sales out of 400 breweries selling premium bottled ales.
Leading trade publication, The Publican’s Morning Advertiser ‘Brands Report 2013’ shows Butcombe Bitter entering the Top 15 Cask Ale Brands in the UK, ahead of prominent beers such as Wadworth 6X and Brains SA. It is also closing in on the Top 100 alcoholic brands in the UK by total volume (all formats: bottle, draught.)
Added to these accolades, Butcombe Bitter won ‘Silver’ at the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) Supreme Champion Bitter of the South West during 2013 and then went on to pick up the Bronze medal in the Bitters category at the Great British Beer Festival, held in London’s Olympia.
All this comes hot on the heels of Adam Henson’s Rare Breed in bottle being awarded one of the prestigious gold medals in the 2013 International Beer Challenge, being judged among the elite best from thousands of entries from thirty-three countries.
Guy Newell, Managing Director of Butcombe Brewery, says: “We have a small, hard-working team at Butcombe and it’s a tremendous boost for us all when we see such fantastic results for our beers. We have invested in the people and technology to ensure that our beer has never been better and we are proud to be consistently judged to be making some of the best beer in the UK, which in turn brews the best beer in the world. We undoubtedly benefit from our location in beautiful Somerset, within the ‘Golden Triangle’ of Thatchers Cider and Yeo Valley farm; this is a very discerning and storied county when it comes to produce and beer and we couldn’t give the tough competition a run for its money without such loyal drinkers. 2013 has been a great year for Butcombe, despite the tough trading conditions, and we aim to have an even better year in 2014”
Pre-tax profit at Butcombe Brewery has almost doubled after the company increased its marketing spend and reported growth in the volume of bottles it supplies to supermarkets. Accounts filed for the year to 28 February 2014 revealed that pre-tax profit reached £1m at Butcombe Brewing Company Ltd, up from £552,600 a year earlier.
In 2005, Butcombe built the largest new-build brewery in the UK for the past 35 years and prides itself on being one of the most efficient and energy-conserving breweries in the UK. It is capable of producing 50,000 barrels of beer a year.
Butcombe’s core range of cask-ale beers includes: Butcombe Bitter, Adam Henson’s Rare Breed and Butcombe Gold as well as a range of Seasonal and World Beers.
There are 32 people in the team at Butcombe - 18 in production and distribution, and 14 covering all other aspects of running the brewery and a 19-strong managed pub estate. Long Ashton Cider Company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Butcombe Brewery Ltd which produces two highly successful brands, Ashton Press Cider and Ashton Still Traditional.