Wild Beer Co purchases new Bottling Plant to meet growing export demand
The Wild Beer Co has recently purchased extra brewing capacity and a new bottling line from Devon firm, Vigo, with the help of a grant from the REG Programme and the Rural Development Programme for England. The brewery, based in the village of Westcombe in Somerset is only 18 months old but has already exported to over a dozen countries with growing demand in the US, southern Europe and Scandinavia.
MD Andrew Cooper applied for a grant from the REG Programme, “the bottling process had become a real bottle-neck for the business, and with growing demand we knew we had to find some new equipment. The grant and support we have received from the REG Programme has meant that we have bought a really good piece of equipment and allowed us to grow our capacity, which will allow us to confidently plan our growth over the next few years and has meant that we have already added 4 people to the team in the last couple of months.”
“The project was supported by the Rural Development Programme for England, for which Defra is the Managing Authority, part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in Rural areas. It has been grant funded through the REG Programme delivered by Devon County Council on behalf of the Heart of the South-West Local Enterprise Partnership.”
The new bottling line allows the Wild Beer Co to increase bottle production to over 1500 bottles an hour. Brewing Director Brett Ellis commented “Far too often we had found ourselves bottling long into the night to get orders ready to go out, the new equipment means we can achieve a more consistent quality to our bottling in a fraction of the time. We are very pleased to have worked with Vigo on this, as they have helped us make the right decisions on the specifications we needed and they offer an unrivalled training package and after-care.”
Somerset beers go stateside
The Westcombe-based brewery is about to send its biggest bottle shipment yet to the US, with over 18000 bottles due to leave next week, following on from a 13000 bottle shipment in February. The Wild Beer Co also send draught products out in tank containers that are kegged by the importers, B.United at their state of the art facility in Connecticut, before being dispatched all over the United States.
Speaking about the brewery’s US exports, managing director Andrew Cooper, said: “We’re thrilled with our growing sales in America. Export is a key focus for the business; it was always at the centre of our business plan, as we felt that whilst the UK market was becoming more adventurous, some of our more esoteric beers would only ever sell in quite small volumes in the UK’s very traditional beer scene.”
“I have just returned from my first visit to the States so that we could get a better understanding of which of our brands would sell best and to get a better understanding of the market over there. The trip has already led to an increase in sales and helped to grow interest in some of the beers we will release in the US in the future. The trip was part-funded by the UKTI’s Passport to Export program which offers great support to enable us to carry out market research and market visits, not only in America, but also in Scandinavia, with further visits planned for Italy, Norway and another trip to the US.”
“We are particularly pleased to do business with B.United in America because there isn’t a huge amount of British beer available in the States, predominantly because there are so many fantastic craft breweries out there already. It is really exciting to us that we can offer something a little bit different to American craft beers and that we now have a bottling line that enables us to continue to grow those sales.”