Evan Evans buys stricken Archers
in Wiltshire to expand brewing
Archers, the independent Swindon brewery with a chequered history of takeovers and periods of administration, has been bought by Simon Buckley, owner of Evan Evans Brewery in Llandeilo, West Wales, for an undisclosed sum.
Mr Buckley, whose family have been brewers in Wales since 1767, told me he plans to close the Archer's site and build a new brewery in south Wiltshire, which will come on stream later this year. He added that he will radically overhaul the current portfolio of beers.
Archers was founded in 1979 by former RAF pilot Mark Wallington. He based the brewery in a carriage shed that was part of Brunel's station complex in Swindon. Wallington proved to be one of the most successful of the new breed of small craft brewers in the 1980s and moved the brewery to a custom-built site on Penzance Drive alongside the main railway line from Paddington to Bristol and the South-west.
But when Mark Wallington retired and sold the business it went through a series of owners and has been placed in administration three times.
Simon Buckley told me he had ambitious plans for the brewery. Evan Evans is brewing to capacity and Buckley has created a new company, Wiltshire Ales, which will have a distribution centre near Swindon as well as a new brewery in the county.
"Wiltshire Ales is a new cask ale specialist brewer," he said. "We will be revitalising some of the famous Archer's brands and adding new Wiltshire Ales seasonal beers. We will not be re-badging Evan Evans as Archers.
"We see this as a major opportunity for our company to develop new trading opportunities outside Wales and to tap into the lucrative south-east of England market. I hope make both Archer's and Evan Evans' beers available in the London area."
Simon Buckley said he plans to produce Archer’s beers in bottle as well as cask. Last week he launched Cwrw, a bottled real ale, at the gastro-pub Y Cadno in Cardiff. Cwrw is the Welsh for ale.
Buckley, aged 51, is the sixth generation of the Buckley brewing family. One of his ancestors, the Rev James Buckley, is commemorated by the beer Rev James brewed by the large Cardiff independent Brain’s.'