Another Planet? No, just Spain
By Steven Smith
Steven Smith meets owner of micro-brewery “Another Planet”, Laurence Campbell, to chat about his bold move to Spain. Laurence achieved overnight fame in the hit British Channel 4 TV show, “A New Life in The Sun”.
It is not unusual, on the rainy shores of Britain, to hear people say the words, “I would love to move to Spain”, especially during the long, damp, chilly winter months. For many it is sadly a pipe dream. But for others, the fantasy of dipping their toes in the warm Mediterranean by day while sipping sangria and tucking into paella by night, is a reality. There are over a quarter of a million Britons living in Spain with residents eligible to vote.
One such man, who gave up his successful career in IT in the UK, is Laurence Campbell. He and his wife Kat moved to Spain – specifically, Murcia – over four years ago. Laurence built a micro-brewery from scratch, giving locals and tourists alike a taste of real British craft beer. His New Age looks and charm have won him an army of fans with his appearance on the television show, “A New Life in the Sun”.
The couple met at a Ceroc (French rock and roll) class on London’s Tottenham Court Road, and married 16 months later. That was 23 years ago. It had been the dream of Laurence (60) and Kat (56) to retire to a sunnier climate and they had the couple fell in love with the south-eastern region of Spain, with its 25O km of beaches, and bought a country home in the Murcia region, with its cathedrals and gothic interiors. They soon felt at home, so much so that they chose early retirement, and moved everything over to Spain.
“We live five minutes from the brewery, in the countryside just outside Torre Pacheco in the Murcia region.” They have only one Spanish neighbour and are surrounded by orange groves, with their dogs and pet sheep to keep them company. “It is pure bliss.” As Laurence describes it, it is a far cry from living in the suburbs in the Midlands.
The beer range “Another Planet” was a gamble to begin with, and it was far from plain sailing.
“It has been up and down the stairs, and that’s not just delivering it to the locals,” laughs Laurence. “Taking on the company’s salesman, Nick, has worked wonders, and we are now in over 20 bars despite lockdown. The effect of restrictions has been tough on the business, but we have just developed a new Pilsner style lager which is proving popular.
“Being on Channel 4’s hugely popular day-time show ‘A New Life in the Sun’ has been great for us, and we have had such positive feedback from friends and viewers. Customers of ours, who run a paddle-board business and a café, had appeared on the programme the year before. They gave us an introduction to the production company, who eagerly took us on.”
Making beer is easier than selling it. But it is really catching on, and not just with the British-inspired local restaurants. One place offers a different ale to go with each course. Obviously, in Thai and Indian restaurants (Laurence’s favourite), there is nothing quite like a cold beer to wash the food down, and there are quite a few Asian restaurants in the region.
Tours of the brewery (with tasters) have proven really popular, not just with the tourists but with locals too. This is how Laurence met salesman Nick Hall, who had a passion for beer. Tuesday tours are back on for numbers up to 10, and the brewery now offers private catered tours for celebrations such as birthdays, the first of which has been a great hit.
Much as Laurence is flattered by the attention he is receiving through the show, he is quite happy working in the brewery and enjoying quiet nights with his wife, dogs and sheep,
in the idyllic surroundings of their home.
For press, contact Steven Smith, 07969106222.