Utopian growth

British Craft Lager & Utopian Growth

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It’s a great concept and close to home (for us!): a craft lager using British ingredients to be brewed in Devon (our home county). With the building of a 35 hectolitre brewery operated using sustainable energy sources, complete with visitor centre, Utopian Brewing, mean business.

We’re excited. Not just because of the concept and the opportunities for our region. Utopian Brewing have chosen us to supply and install their brewery — a 3 vessel brewhouse with 12 fermentation and conditioning tanks, designed and manufactured by our US partners, American Beer Equipment.

The craft beer market here in the UK is strong, leading to healthy competition within the supply chain. New brew kit is a hefty investment and craft brewers ensure they do their research when sourcing. Utopian’s co-founder, Richard Archer (pictured below) outlines the considerations involved:

“The decision was not a straightforward one as we received a wide range of very strong responses, another positive sign of the strength of the independent craft brewing sector, with so many high-quality UK manufacturers and suppliers to choose from. In the end though we had to make a choice and the main factors that contributed to our selection were; the quality of the equipment, the long history of the company in beverage production, the flexibility and understanding demonstrated by the team and the quality of the reference visits during the selection process. Having the services and experience of David and Rob Smith (of Brewing Services) alongside me also proved to be a very valuable asset. As a Devon based brewery we are keen to use local suppliers wherever possible and so Vigo’s Devon base provided another bonus tick in the box.”
Richard Archer, Utopian Brewery

It’s a fantastic project for us to be involved in, as my colleague in Technical Sales, Rich Charlton, explains:

“We are delighted to have been chosen to partner with Utopian on this exciting new project. When meeting with Richard originally, we immediately bought into his concept of a craft supplier of premium lager to the market. Utopian’s site is fantastic, and will allow them the space to expand as demand inevitably increases. Devon in particular, although having some top quality craft breweries, has very little of this scale so it’s great for the region to have Utopian choosing to locate here.

Utopian’s decision to work with us, from a very competitive group of equipment suppliers, further demonstrates our growing reputation as an established supplier of equipment to the craft market. We have now exceeded 20 installations of ABE equipment in UK craft breweries, and we are proud of our strong relationship with ABE. These projects, along with the feedback from our existing customers, continue to drive more enquiries our way. We very much look forward to working closely with Utopian, and will keep a keen interest in their future development.”
Rich Charlton, Vigo Ltd

Richard Archer explains his focus on lager:

“Britain has a great brewing heritage yet the vast majority of lagers that you see on beer taps and supermarket shelves are brewed by the mega brewers. We intend to bring the same dedication and artisan craft, care and attention to lager that is currently given to ales and to join the vibrant independent sector celebrating British brewing with some incredible lager.”

Richard Archer, Utopian Brewing Co


Utopian have recently launched its crowdfunding with Crowdcube, crowdcube, to support the development of their new brewery site and enable anyone to own part of the company and share in its success. The public crowdfunding passed 84% in its first 20 days with over 111 investors.

We look forward to working closely with Utopian.

Published: July 18, 2018

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