Simon Whitmore, Founder of Butcombe and former MD of Courage Western and prior to that with Guinness Worldwide, set up Butcombe Brewery in old farm buildings at his family home in Butcombe, 10 miles south of Bristol, in September 1978. He used his £24, 000 redundancy payment from Courage to convert the buildings, and buy most of the brewery equipment from Allied Breweries surplus plant department in Burton-on-Trent. Simon even picked up the plant and bought it back to Bristol in his famously unreliable second hand Bedford 35cwt truck …luckily he made it!
The brewery has been extended twice since then. In the summer of 1982, increasing the brewery length to first 20 barrels and subsequently to 45 barrels, and again in the autumn of 1992 increasing the brew length to 85 barrels. The superb Boby 4 roller mill, which you can see in our shop today, milled for 27 years between 1978 and February 2005, a staggering 285, 000 barrels of beer or just over 82 million pints …no wonder it needed replacing!
Simon and the team brewed one beer for the first 21 years – The iconic Butcombe Bitter, no wonder it’s called The Original! With Gold finally being added to the stable in 1999. Simon sold the brewery in March 2003 to Guy Newell, Paul Horsley and family friends, whilst remaining a consultant for three years.
Brewing commenced on the new site at Wrington in the newly built brewery on the 26th February 2005. 14,000 square feet, all new equipment and a brew length of 150 barrels, giving up capability of producing in excess of 40, 000 barrels of beer per year (a barrel is 36 gallons) same water, same people, same great beer!
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