TV farmer toasts success of pale ale he created with Bristol brewery

January 2, 2020

Butcombe Brewery has celebrated producing the three millionth bottle of its Rare Breed pale ale with a visit from farmer and Countryfile presenter Adam Henson, who collaborated with its brewing team to create it.

Adam, pictured, teamed up with the Wrington brewery in 2012 to produce a beer that reflected his dedication to sustainable farming and a passion for characterful, artisanal beer. 

The collaboration came about when Adam decided to create a beer using the Maris Otter barley he had been growing on his Cotswold farm.

He said: “We visited a number of breweries around the South West and eventually ended up at Butcombe. We found out a lot about the company and soon realised there was plenty of synergy with what we believe in such as customer care, quality of product, looking after staff, sustainability and the importance of where produce comes from. This all rang true with us and our brand values so we decided to produce a beer together.”

As well as the finest Maris Otter malting barley, Adam and Butcombe’s brewing team decided to use aromatic Fuggles hops and fruity Cascade and Amarillo hops along with pure Mendip water from Butcombe’s own spring for Rare Breed – giving it a distinctive, clean taste with a smooth, citrus twist.

Butcombe MD Marc McGuigan said the brewery was thrilled to be marking such an important milestone in the production of Rare Breed.

“It’s a special product which represents much of our ethos here at Butcombe Brewery,” he said. “The water we use comes from our very own bore hole and, after the brewing process, all used barley goes to local farms as cow feed. 

“Seeing the three millionth bottle come off the production line was a very special moment and we’re looking forward to producing millions more. We are continuing to work with Adam on a number of exciting projects including updating the look and feel of Rare Breed, so watch out for more news.”

While at Butcombe Brewery’s bottling plant in Bridgwater, Adam signed 10 Rare Breed labels, pictured. Anyone who finds a signed bottle in shops, supermarkets or the Butcombe Brewery shop can claim some unique prizes, including a personalised tour of Adam’s farm and a behind-the-scenes tour of brewery to see how Rare Breed is made.

Adam admitted he originally wanted to call the beer Muddy Puddle.

“I thought it fitted with farmers. I could see the marketing, big welly boots splashing in the mud but the brewers thought it was a ridiculous idea. Rare Breed is fresh and zesty, they didn’t want to be selling people a muddy puddle!” he said.

“The name Rare Breed means more than just the animal connection. It also represents our rare relationship – one of farmer and brewer. It has worked really well for us and I adore the beer. Head brewer Mike (Jordan) and his team’s skill in continuing to produce this fantastic product is amazing. I’m delighted to be involved.”

Butcombe was founded in 1978 by former managing director of Courage Western Simon Whitmore and acquired by Channel Island-based beer, wine and pub group Liberation four years ago.

In November it landed two Golds in the British Bottlers’ Institute (BBI) Competition, which celebrates the best of Britain’s bottle and canned drinks.

The brewery triumphed in the category for ales with an abv of between 4.5% and 4.9%, while the its Goram IPA earned the title of best IPA in the abv 4% – 5.4% group.


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