We’ve sold bag in boxes for over a decade now so we know a bit or two about them!
The concept of bag in box is easy to sell — cidermakers and apple juice
producers can open up their market to include festivals and other
events where glass is not welcome; they can increase their pack sizes;
and their product can be consumed for weeks or months after opening.
What is harder to sell, however, is that not all bag in boxes on the
market are the same. Through experience, we’ve learnt that there are
good bag in boxes which keep your product in good condition and retain
their shape, and there are sub-standard bag in boxes that split,
collapse and/or cause your product to deteriorate. We’ve spent a lot of
time over the years working with trusted manufacturers to ensure that
the bag in boxes we offer are good quality.
From brewers’ bootcamps, “bacon stations” (yes, really!), BMX freestyle, and Bruce Dickinson (from Iron Maiden — he brews) as the keynote speaker,
there were certainly plenty of surprises at #CraftBrewersCon 2019,
Denver. The sheer scale of it alone is quite something to get your head
around! With an impressive 14,000 attendees, 1,000 exhibitors and 96
seminars, four days doesn’t seem quite enough. Compare this with the
attendance at our UK equivalent, BEERX, which clocked up an impressive
2,000 visitors and 148 exhibitors [2018 data] and you get the picture.
Of course size doesn’t always matter but this is a good reflection of
the scale of the craft beer market stateside.
If you’re not familiar with it, Craft Brewers Conference & BrewExpo America is the go-to event for breweries and brewpubs, and hosted by the Brewers Association. This year it included 584,000 square feet of exhibition and seminars covering 12 general topics from Business to Brewery Operations to Export. With titles like ‘How to sell and market to people not like you’, ‘What I wish I had known when I started my brewery’, ‘Acid trip’, & ‘Sours: Traditional Meets Modern’ there were plenty to tempt. It’s not all exhibition and education, it’s an energising, social environment for sharing (craft beers and ideas!) and inspiring. Days easily march into the night with official events like ‘Craft After Dark’ and tap takeovers to attend, plus a pick of the 100+ breweries to visit in Denver alone!
We took our place on the (very large!) American Beer Equipment stand, as UK agents, alongside our ABE friends. The main highlight for us included seeing ABE’s new CraftCanDuo canning line — a “dual lane” version of the CraftCan. It has 16 filler nozzles, and allows you to fill two can sizes at once and comes complete with ABE’s patent-pending Servo-Seamer and on-demand seam analysis for precision filling. This version is a perfect fit for the rapidly growing UK canning market — it provides an affordable, compact and flexible alternative to a rotary canning machine.
So, what is different about the US craft beer market, compared to the UK’s? It seems that the average variety of beers produced per brewery is much higher in the US. It isn’t uncommon, for example, for even a small US craft brewery to have an impressive 12 to 14 beers on tap. It is interesting to note that the main craft beer culture in the US is really the taproom business, more so than distribution. We notice that the sales focus of craft breweries in the US is on their local state supply, whereas in the UK the focus is usually on supplying nationally (if not initially, ultimately) — this difference is probably more to do with the sheer size of America than anything else, however!
social element of CBC? I asked my colleagues which US craft beer they
felt stood out above all others and the answer was “the variety was
bewildering — it’s impossible to pick one out!” A much easier choice was
the annual ABE party on the last night of CBC at Woods Boss Brewing,
a brewery that makes some amazing beers, was a “great wrap”. Their New
England IPA was a hit along with several of their key beers as we
celebrated an “awesome” show with our ABE friends, customers, and
soon-to-be owners of ABE kit.
you’d like to talk to us about ABE canning lines, brewhouses, bright
tanks, or any other brewery equipment, please call us on UK 01404
Production of juice or cider at the commercial level is reliant on the efficient and effective processing of bulk harvested fruit into juice. To enable our customers in the UK to achieve this, we partnered with internationally renowned Voran® Maschinen in Austria 32 years ago and we haven’t looked back. Voran have decades of commercial fruit processing experience (in fact, they established in 1925!) and have used this experience to become industry leaders in the sector — developing and delivering high and robust quality fruit presses, mills, washers and bin tippers.
Whether you require a continuous, automatic pressing and milling system as pictured above, or more traditional pressing via the rack and cloth semi-automatic method, we can offer Voran equipment for the full process. Their range covers processing capacities of 150kg per hour up to 7,000 kg per hour.
Here are some things you would need to consider to help us find the correct pressing/milling solution for you:
Which fruit are you looking to process?
What budget do you have available?
How hands-on are you willing or wanting to be?
What is the total volume (kg) of fruit you are looking to press?
How quickly do you need the fruit pressed? Are you able to cold store fruit to lengthen your pressing window or does it all need processing as soon as harvested?
Do you have the single phase (230v) or 3 phase power (400v) on site?
we have this information, we can talk you through your options and
advise on the right system for you. If necessary, we are happy to
arrange a visit for you to see Voran equipment first hand at one of our
customer sites. You might like to take a look at some of our case studies for inspiration.
When you order through us, you will receive technical support from our team of engineers whether through set up; installation, commissioning & training (where required); and/or ongoing support.
If you’d like to discuss your equipment requirements, please call us on UK 01404 892100. We look forward to hearing from you.
We were lucky enough to attend the first ever UK CraftCon cidermaking development day at Pershore College, organised by the Three Counties Cider and Perry Association. James Forbes, Chair of the association, hoped that CraftCon would, in bringing together producers to share knowledge and learn from each other, prove to be an important milestone in bringing on a renaissance in cider and perry.
kind of event has been a long time coming! Craft cider makers here in
the UK produce fantastic ciders but have rarely had the opportunity to
come together as a collective force to discuss, help shape, and promote
this very niche industry.
beer dominates the UK “craft” market and with good reasons – America’s
heavy thirst for it; enthusiastic brewers on this side of the pond
wanting to break the ‘traditional’ mould; a gap in the (millennial?)
market; and some inspirational marketing.
Sure, the craft cider market has hurdles [consumers’ preconceptions of what real
cider is; global cider brands deliberately marketing their products as
farm-scale; and many craft ciders being subject to new higher alcohol
duty meant to target those high strength ‘white ciders’ associated with
problem drinking], but there is no reason why these fantastic ciders
shouldn’t see a similar boom in consumer demand. How can we get there?
More UK based events like CraftCon are essential. Here are a few
Characterisation: Cider is not a generic, nor a default drink. Real ciders, like fine wines and craft beers, have complex characteristics which need to be experienced. Differentiation is also relevant here — whether wild, single variety or hopped — it will create more interest.
A quality mark:James Mcilwraith and likeminded cidermakers are campaigning for a “craft” type quality mark so that consumers can recognise craft/real cider from cider from concentrate.
Discovery: Consumers need to “discover” for themselves! Providing them well thought out opportunities to discover craft cider is key. If it’s unique and they love it, they’ll share it (as with craft beer) and want to experience more.
Ambassadors: We need more, definitely — like Tom Oliver, Gabe Cook and Susanna Forbes to fly the flag
It is a craft: In our experience, cidermakers are naturally modest, which is lovely. The real cider industry has a depth of cidermaking expertise, cultural heritage and stories at its fingertips, but consumers aren’t always aware of this — another opportunity. Which brings us to the next point …
Marketing, marketing & marketing: Strong brands needed here! Sometimes it only takes a few ‘champion’ brands to find a way of engaging with consumers and they (the consumers) will do the rest. If you don’t know how to develop your brand, you’re not alone — most strong brands buy in help. Done well, it’s an investment.
Our belief that there are strong opportunities for future growth and that’s why we were happy to sponsor CraftCon19.
The event was really well organised and attended by delegates from across the UK and Europe. The speakers were generous with both their knowledge and cider samples! We attended seminars lead by Tom Oliver, Gabe Cook and James Marsden — all experts in and advocates of the industry. Gabe’s fault identification seminar was fascinating — tasting spiked versions of cider to help identify how a fault presents, what it’s causes might be, in order to avoid it in the future. Martin Berkeley’s talk on the dark arts of keeving was another highlight.
we were attending to represent our equipment offering, we left having
genuinely benefitted from a deeper understanding of the product and
having met some of the passionate individuals at the very forefront of
quality cider making.
excited that it looks like cider’s time is coming again and look
forward to helping equip passionate producers with the right equipment
to play their part in it! If you’d like to discuss cider or perry making
equipment with us please call us on UK 01404 892100.
Brewhouse is the heart of your brewery operation. Control, reliability
and dependability are the key features to expect from your investment. American Beer Equipment
(ABE) are vastly experienced in the design, manufacture and supply of
brew kit. ABE equipment has now been installed in close to 1000 craft
breweries across the US, and through our introduction of ABE equipment into the UK, this distribution is set to continue.
Catering for sizes from 2–43 UK BBL, we are pretty confident we have a brewhouse solution for you, but we understand that one size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to brewing. ABE brewhouses are customised to suit your specific requirements. From initial contact, both we and ABE work with you in partnership to achieve exactly what best allows you to achieve your aims. This includes agreeing the optimal brewery layout, customising the pipework and sizing equipment appropriately to prevent any restrictions in you achieving your production targets.
When you order through us you are getting more than just equipment. You will receive technical support from our team of engineers from the initial installation, commissioning and training on your brewhouse, to ongoing support after installation. Check out a sample of our case studies for a sample of the brewery installations we’ve carried out.
you’d like to discuss brewhouses further with us, please do not hesitate
to call us. We will always be happy to arrange visits for you to see
the equipment first hand at existing customer’s before committing and
get a real understanding of how our brewhouses and support could work
you. Initial information we would require to would be …
• Your desired brew length • The number of brews required per day • Do you have steam available on site?
Call Andy, Rich or Paul on UK 01404 892100. We look forward to speaking to you soon.
We’re really excited about the UK’s first Viti-Culture show! There are many inspiring wine industry exhibitions to choose from on the continent, including Simei (Italy), ProWein (Germany) and Vinexpo (France), but UK equivalents are rare and the regular ones have only ever really been an ‘arm’ of fruit industry wide exhibitions — Fruit Focus, for example. WineGB are doing a fantastic job with their programme of Technical Conferences for winemakers, but it is great to have a UK based exhibition dedicated to our industry where winemakers, viticulturalists and new entrants have easy access to an important part of the supply chain.
Held at Plumpton College on 11th July and organised by Grape Vine Events and Vineyard magazine, Viti-Culture 2019 has a good line-up. Here are the highlights:
Exhibits: There will be vineyard consultants, land agents,
specialist machinery dealers, winery equipment suppliers (we’ll be there!),
agronomists, brand and packaging specialists and professional service
Seminars: Topics are wide-ranging, including contract growing, establishing a winery, finding the right contract winemaker, venturing into viticulture, weather monitoring and a debate on machinery. Speakers include Matt Stugnell and Simon Roberts from Ridgeview Estate ( IWSC Winemaker of the Year 2018) and Mark Driver, owner of 600 acre Rathfinny Estate.
Tastings!: Wine critic Matthew Jukes has chosen 50 of the
most influential English and Welsh wines, which the Vineyard Magazine will be
pouring samples of in the Lockton Marquee.
Viti-Culture 2019 is a free to attend event for the wine industry. You can attend by registering here. If you’re looking to source winery equipment or simply want to ask us a question, come at see us at the show or call us on UK 01404 892100.
March is one of our favourite times of year here at Vigo Ltd and it’s all because of BEERX! Not only do we get to take part in the UK’s largest independent craft brewing trade show, but we get to chat and share a pint with brewing friends and new enthusiasts.
Here are 5 reasons why you should join us …
The workshops: There are 13 of them
with wide ranging topics, including Funding, Exporting, Brewery
Apprenticeships, Culture, Retailing, Health & Safety, and
Find new kit! This
year’s BEERX layout includes 199 trade stands, covering raw materials,
packaging, utility services, and process and dispense equipment. If
you’re looking for brewhouses, canning / bottling / kegging equipment
come and have a chat with our Andy and Rich on stands 92 & 93. If you’re new to us, we’re experienced (since 2015 we’ve supplied and carried out 32 installations of American Beer Equipment kit including 24 canning lines and 8 brewhouses; and we’ve been supplying bottling equipment since 1984), we know what we’re talking about (Andy, Rich and our MD Simon are the brewers behind the Many Hands Brew Co),
and we have a team of fantastic Vigo engineers to back up all the
equipment we supply. Adam from ABE, Nebraska, will also be with us on
SIBA’s Independent Beer Awards:
Each SIBA region hosts its own regional beer competitions to find the
very best independently brewed beer. BEERX is the venue where the gold winners of each category are judged for the national finals. We’re sponsoring the Bottle/Can IPA (5.5 to 6.4%) category and finalists include Eight Arch Brewing Co,Roosters Brewing Co, and Signature Brew. We’ll be presenting the award at during the ceremony on 14th March (6 to 8.30pm).
It’s in Liverpool: Held at the ACC Exhibition Centre at Liverpool’s famous Royal Albert Dock, there are spectacular surroundings, plenty of culture, and great places to eat and drink a few steps away from the venue.
It’s free if you’re not yet brewing or are a SIBA member!
You can pre-register for a complimentary 2 day complimentary BEERX
pass, as opposed to £31+VAT for non SIBA members. Tickets are available here.
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.
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
“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.”
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.”
Utopian’s Concept in their own words …
“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
have recently launched its crowdfunding with 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 has passed
84% in its first 20 days with over 111 investors. For more information
see: theirCrowdcube page.
Gosh, what a busy year! Our feet don’t feel like they’ve touched the ground. So, without further ado, here’s our review of the year and the drink trends that are to come …
2017 has been an exciting year! The demand for craft beer here in the UK and
the flurry of related events on offer was quite staggering. What with
Craft Beer Rising, BEERX, Brewers Lectures, and the Great British Beer
Festival, there aren’t enough days in the year.
We’ve had a really busy year of canning line and brewhouse installs. Did you know that 84% of the UK breweries in which we’ve installed American Beer Equipment canning lines and brewhouses are award winning? Their collective medal hoard is impressive, including World Beer Awards, International Beer Challenge, RateBeer Best Awards(incl. the 1st UK brewery to make the top 10 Best Brewers in the World!)SIBA Awards, and many more. Great reasons for us all to feel proud!
The canning craze continues to rise in the US and here in the UK. Canned craft beer volume in the US increased from 4% to 12% between 2013 and 2016 [IRI Group].
SIBA reported that while there were only 4 UK independent breweries
using cans in 2014, there are now over 100. Whether craft beer lovers
are greedy for can formats in particular, or they just love the
diversity of craft beers in every format, is difficult to determine.
There is little doubt, however, that the benefits of cans
aren’t limited to the consumer. If you are a brewer, you’ll be well
aware that cans protect beer from light an oxygen, they retain fresh hop
flavours and they are a much more flexible packaging option than
bottles. If you’re interesting in canning, please do contacts us.
So what’s new for 2018? Nitro Beer is here! Craft
breweries in the US are really embracing nitrogen-carbonated
beer — it’s being called ‘Nitro-mania’. Whether nitro white ale, IPA or
stout, the smoother mouth-feel, evenly distributed flavour, and
cascading bubbles add a whole new level of complexity to craft beers.
Producing nitro beer in cans for UK craft brewery market is now possible
with American Beer Equipment’s Nitro-canning system, which we’re
offering for the year to come (with or without widget option), so do
contact us if you want to chat through your options!
For those cider makers amongst you,we’re hoping you’ve got a spring in your step for the year ahead.
The buzz you created in the Orchards & Cider Pavilion at the Bath
& West Show was palpable, and your 500+ cider and perry entries to
the British Cider Championships
yet again ensured its position as the largest cider competition in
Europe. We received good reports of this year’s apple harvest across the
UK and we’ve certainly noticed a quietly optimistic outlook for 2018
from those of you we’ve chatted to. The news that the UK cider market represents 46% of cider sold across the world is a huge achievement, as outlined by Helen Williams, Chair of the NACM. If the cider production case studies we’ve got coming up are a barometer for the year ahead, we’re pretty excited!
Retail market opportunities seem to be expanding, as more and more of you are getting contracts withsupermarkets, which are realising the value of offering local/regional cider and apple juice from smaller producers.
As for forecasted trends, we can understand the irony some of you traditional cider makers will feel about ‘craft cider’ being the next big thing (you’ve no doubt been producing it for years). Irony aside, however, there is a lot to be said for the positive impact this word is set to have on the industry. The potential for craft
cider is as huge as it is for beer, and the hope is that in the not too
distant future, cider lovers will recognise and identify not just the
brands but the growing number of styles of cider on offer. Simon Wright
of Hawkes Cider (the first “urban cidery” in London) recognises this,
and throws forward this challenge: “Who are the Beavertowns of the cider world?”
With great branding and a collective promotional push, craft cider will
establish its own niche and be relevant to the demographic which is
fundamental to its growth.
And the other trends? It’s no surprise that canning is one of the main trends to come, as emphasised by Ciderologist, Gabe Cook. Cans are so
relevant to ‘craft’ and we’re excited to see canned ciders from medium
scale producers now being launched onto the market. If you’d like to
talk about canning, even if it’s just about the concept of canning
cider, we’d really like to hear from you. Our canning equipment capacity
starts from 15 cans per minute.
The wine producers amongst you will be well aware that it has been a year of contrasts.Putting the alarming frost reports from April and May to one side, it’s been a fantastic PR year for English and Welsh wine. There was high profile media coverage of record turnover (English independent wine producers),record
plantings, and outstanding results in international competitions and
blind tastings. We counted 86 medals won by English/Welsh wine producers
in this year’s International Wine & Spirits Competition and the International Wine Challenge reported that 108 medals were won, which are a tremendous achievement and a testament to the expertise and flair within our wine industry.
Though a fractionally higher grape yield (UK tonnes/ha) was reported this year compared to 2016, there was much variance
by region and variety, much as a result of the frosts, as outlined in
Stephen Skelton’s excellent UK Vineyard 2017 Harvest Report. The overall
outcome appears better than originally feared back in the Spring but
the report’s conclusion is reminder of the commercial challenges faced.
Current consumer buying behaviour is not immune to polarities either. Waitrose report* that we
are becoming a ‘price-savvy, value-hunting’ nation, while regarding
purchases such as wine as ‘sacrosanct’ which we won’t renege on.
This is really good news for English andWelsh wine as its profile
continues to rise and supermarkets, top retailers and restaurants stock
more and more lines.
Mintel reports that consumers are actively seeking food and drink as a positive contrast to the stress of modern life. Mintel
predict that in 2018 food and drink will become integral to the
consumer’s ‘self-care’ routine. The future is ‘personalisation’ — food
and drink combinations or experiences which will save time/energy,
create memories, and feel personal. These are all ripe pickings for our
Cold Brew Coffee
will be of little surprise that coffee has caught the ‘craft’ bug. More
and more people are building a culture around it. Foresight Factory
reported that since 2015, “photogenic” coffee posts on social media have
risen by a staggering 4,446%.
Putting #latteart (and it’s cousins) to one side, however, we sense that cold brew coffee could be a drink to watch in 2018.
Cold brew, put simply, is coffee steeped in cool water for many hours.
It produces a smooth and less acidic drink compared to its counterpart,
iced-coffee, which starts off hot.
were reported to have started the demand for cold brew coffee in
America two years ago, with the launch of their Cold Brew, and latterly
Nitro Cold Brew. In the last 12 months sales of cold brew coffee in the US rose 80%, according
to StudyLogic, as cold brew is predicted to wake up the American coffee
market. This year Starbucks’ Nitro Cold Brew was launched in a selected
stores in the UK market.
brew coffee is very much in its infancy in the UK. We have, however,
noticed an increase in enquiries recently and were lucky enough to
sample a range of canned cold brew coffees from one UK producer who got
pleased to announce that in response to growing demand in the US,
American Beer Equipment has launched their new Coffee Brewhouse, a 5bbl system, which we are offering to the UK market.
there are parallels between cold brew coffee and craft beer and it
isn’t just the brew kit which is similar. The importance of the
ingredient’s origins, the extraction of flavours, similar flavour-notes,
and the indisputable fact that both beer and coffee play a key role in
bringing people together are just some of the parallels.
call us if you are interested in adding cold brew coffee to your drinks
range and would like to discuss ABE’s Coffee Brewhouse.
Time to wish you …
We only mentioned a few key drink trends here for 2018 and only three of the drink sectors which the UK is renowned for. This blog is more than long enough to include more, sadly.
As the year draws to a close, we
wish every UK drink producers lots of sales over the Christmas and New
Year period and throughout 2018. Thank you for giving our nation much to
be proud of. Have a very happy Chirstmas and an upbeat New Year!
We’ve had quite a bit of change here at Vigo over the last 12 months and we really want to share our news with you.
To those of you who have known us for many years, we’re sorry that we couldn’t divulge more at the time — we really wanted to. We’re sure, though, that you’ll understand how slowly legal wheels can turn and how important it is to allow time for ‘bedding in’ after times of change. Thank you for your patience. To those of you haven’t known us for very long, welcome!
Now for the big reveal. Here are the main changes …
We are pleased to announce that Vigo Ltd’s new owner and Managing Director is Simon Pitts. Simon has been our Finance Director for the last 7 years.
very important to Vigo’s founder and previous owner for 33 years, Alex
Hill, to sell the business to someone he trusted implicitly, who had the
resources and skills to move it forwards and continue its ethos. Simon
is focused, intuitive and highly respected by the members of our team.
Here are a few words from Simon:
“I’m really excited about the future and seeing the business continue to grow. For me it’s very much about evolution not revolution. Vigo has been successful by providing good quality equipment, and growing with our customers. That will continue. My colleagues and our customers really make Vigo. Our customers are passionate about their product, and we are equally passionate about the products and support we give. As soon as I started working here in 2010 I realised that there was a ‘get the job done’ ethic that I really value.” Simon Pitts, Managing Director
I am sure that those of you who have known Alex Hill for many years will be pleased for him that he has managed to retire — never easy when you own a business you love. Alex still gives us his support and we can tap into his vast knowledge bank as and when required.
Equipment and support are our business. We look forward to sharing this new phase in Vigo’s journey with you.