Bristol born and made to stand out, Butcombe Brewing Co. began life at a time of cultural, social and political change, crafting beer before ‘craft beer’ was even a thing.
You see, at that time, no one was risking it all starting a brewery, making simple, premium, easy-drinking ale. To do so was an act of defiance. Or madness. But, 43 years and a lot of hard graft later, by staying true to our beliefs and Bristolian roots, it looks like owning a resolutely maverick brewing company isn’t such a crazy idea after all. By going against the grain, to work intimately with it, we made our own statement with every pint. And what was true then is just as important today.
Butcombe now produces over 135,000 pints a week from our brewery in Wrington. As times and tastes change, so does our range of beers. Alongside Original, Gold and Rare Breed, you’ll find two craft lagers, Bohemia and Underfall, and two IPAs, Goram and Stateside, plus a range of exciting seasonal and small batch specials.
The late summer of 1978 Simon Whitmore founds Butcombe Brewing Co. using his Courage Western redundancy payment to convert his farm buildings and family home into a brewery. The brewery equipment, purchased from Allied Breweries surplus plant in Burton-on-Trent, is driven back to Bristol in Simon’s Bedford 35cwt truck.
Simon and his small team shut out the world, in search of the perfect pint. For 21 years they meticulously brew the iconic Butcombe Bitter, created from Maris Otter malt and a secret blend of English hops, with a distinctive bitter, clean and refreshing flavour – a truly Original beer.
1982 Butcombe Brewery is extended, taking capacity up to 5,760 pints per brew.
1992 The brewery is extended again, increasing capacity to a staggering 25,920 pints per brew.
1999 Butcombe Gold joins the family – a true Bristol sunset in a bottle.
2003 Simon sells the brewery to Guy Newell, Paul Horsley and family friends, whilst remaining a consultant for three years.
2005 Butcombe Brewery relocates to a brand new site at nearby Wrington, with brewing commencing on February 26th. The team dig a borehole deep into the ground to access the finest Mendip Spring water and slowly expand their range – crowd favourites like Butcombe Blonde, Mendip Spring and Brunel Atlantic; icons of a bygone era.
Ashton Press cider comes into the fold at a similar time. Made the Bristol way, in collaboration with local cider producers Thatchers, using harvests of prime cider apples.
2011 Adam Henson begins collaborating with Butcombe. It’s rare you meet a farmer as passionate about sustainability as Adam. His Cotswold-grown Maris Otter barley malt produces a stunning pale ale, and we dedicated a beer to his farm – Rare Breed.
2015 Liberation Group acquires Butcombe, merging two of the most successful, independent regional breweries.
2018 Butcombe opens a state-of-the-art bottling, kegging and distribution depot in Bridgwater.
Butcombe Original and Goram IPA win Gold medals at the British Bottlers’ Institute awards.
Butcombe Original wins Gold in the South West Keg category at the SIBA National beer Awards.
Stateside Session IPA is launched, an American-inspired IPA