BEER lovers raised a glass to the Kennet & Avon brewery in Melksham over the weekend as they held their first festival to celebrate their new home.

The brewery, which only moved into its current premises in Old Broughton Road in July, put on a whole host of beers and ciders for well-wishers to try including their award-winning gluten free stout.

Around 200 people joined the team over the weekend who were previously based in Seend.

Managing director Malcolm Shipp said: “It went very well considering the rugby world cup was on.

“What we wanted to achieve was getting locals aware of what we are up to and we wanted to raise the profile of the brewery and how we hope to do great things for Melksham. From that point of view, I think we did that and people really enjoyed themselves – it was just a fun atmosphere.”

As well as 20 beers and 10 ciders on display by several breweries, guests also enjoyed a BBQ and live music.

Mr Shipp also said the day was the perfect opportunity to let people know about their forthcoming crowd-funding campaign which could see the public invest in the future production plans of the brewery.

He added: “We had lots of local people from Melksham who had never heard of us come along and they loved all the range and it was just fantastic because a lot of them said they wanted us to open a pub in the town because there isn’t anything like it.

“We want more local people to get involved in the business which will help us finance the brewery without us having to go down the normal route of going to a bank which stifles you as a business.

“We have been going for over two years and we have become established for our beers and I want to further that and so this crowd-funding campaign is a great way to do expand while offering people benefits in return depending on the amount they invest.”

As part of the new premises, the plans will see the company create a large craft beer and cider shop selling hundreds of bottled beers from around the world along with a filling station where beer lovers can take away draught beer and cider in containers – which should be open before Christmas.