Wednesday 8 July 2009

Bottled in Cumbria

It really pleases me the amount of good beer news that there is in Cumbria. Despite the economic doom and gloom there seems to be no end to the up-beat mood of all involved with the Cumbrian Craft Brewery industry that is alive and very well.

I needed bottles to continue with my experimental bottling runs. I can't justify buying a whole palate of the things just yet so I thought I'd go and see the nice guys at Cumbria Contract Bottling today. They were very obliging and sold me 196 bottles at a very reasonable price.

My first bottling run was put through their plant about 2 years ago and was only the 4th run they had done at the time. I remember the day well and I mention in this post, how emotional I was about getting my beer bottled. It was only 600 bottles, but they meant a lot to me. The thing was, the plant was, at that time, quiet, clearly they needed more work. Mine was the only run that day and I suspect they were only doing maybe a couple of runs a week.

Today could not have been more different. It was a hive of activity and as I arrived the team was busy cleaning down after one run so they could quickly get set to do the next. It was barely coffee time and they had bottled more beer already than they did the first day I was there two years ago.

The demand for their service is so great that they have had to stop taking new customers. The existing ones are more than filling the capacity of the plant. From the two founders working part time two years ago they had 5 people working today.

So you see, contrary to what some people think, it's not all doom and gloom, and certainly not in Cumbria.


Jeff Pickthall said...

Someone's got to say it – that's all beer that's not being consumed in pubs.

Perhaps if you could find it in more pubs there wouldn't be a bottle boom. Know what I'm saying?

Jeff Pickthall said... all those Robinson's pubs that pollute the Cumbrian environment.

Unknown said...

Now then Jeff, I hope you wouldn't make me say something along the lines that there is a great untapped beer market out there that just isn't being satisfied due to the fact that the microbrewerys can't sell their beer to 9 out of 10 pubs.....

The thing is Jeff, if it were not for the tie system maintaining the sales of dish water to support the old fashioned, out dated family brewers, real ale would have died out years ago. Do you not listen to what everybody is saying?

Unknown said...

Robinson's beer. It's great really. It gives people who don't really appreciate good beer somewhere to go.

Now look what you're making me do. I'll be criticised for making cruel comments next.

ChrisM said...

Piffle, I was brought up on Robbies beer and still enjoy the odd pint of it when I'm back home. Can't stand the stuff that Youngs and Marstons produce though. Ho hum.

Good luck with the bottling, Dave, I shall look forward to picking some up one weekend in the summer when I can't drink too much in the pub!

Unknown said...


Interestingly, I prefer Jennings to Robbies. Of course Jennings is now part of Marsdon. Some would say that this is as a result of me having drunk considerably more Jennings in my life than I have Robbies. Me liking Jennings that is, not Jennings now being part of Marsdon.

However, I much prefer any Marsdon's beer to Robbies. Make of that what you will.

Please say "hi" if you call. If I'm not around just tell the bar person to say you called. It's always nice to know my blog readers have been in.

Paul Garrard said...

Sadly I get mildly horny at pictures like this. The company I work for used to sell 'change parts' for bottling lines until it was moved to another part of the group. I love machinery like this. Am I certifiable do you think?

Unknown said...


I believe you are certifiable, welcome to the club!

Reuben Gray - TaleOfAle said...

It is good to see small local companies like this going from strength to strength.
Good luck with the bottling.

Unknown said...

I love to read about your experiences! You write beautifully about this. changeparts !!! I have enjoyed reading your articles. They are very well written. It looks like you spend a large amount of time and effort in writing the blog. I am appreciating your effort.