Clear Brew

10, 20 and 30 Years Ago


Brinkburn Street AdvertIt’s fun to look back.

This section is devoted to Inside Beer’s trip down Memory Lane, highlighting the major events that were shaping the brewing world 10, 20 and 30 years ago.

10 Years Ago
October 2007

A new report into the British brewing industry reveals that the cask ale market is ‘astonishingly vibrant’, despite suggestions to the contrary. The Intelligent Choice report pours scorn on views that cask ale is in terminal decline, citing the number of new breweries in operation and their expanding sales. The decision by the big four multi-national breweries to move away from selling and promoting cask ale is the real reason for overall output decline, it explains.

Anthony Fuller steps aside as chairman of Fuller’s brewery, handing over the position to fellow family member Michael Turner. Fuller, who joined the brewery in 1963, will now become the company’s president and will also act as a non-executive director.

20 Years Ago
October 1997

The Campaign for Real Ale publishes the twenty-fifth edition of its annual Good Beer Guide. Only twenty-three pubs have now featured in every edition.

Ushers of Trowbridge is investing £4 million in extra brewing capacity in order to accommodate beers transferred from the recently-closed Gibbs Mew brewery in Salisbury.

Whitbread confirms that it has discontinued production of a number of cask ale brands. The beers – many of the survivors of past brewery closures – include Bentley’s Yorkshire Bitter, Fremlins, Chester’s Bitter, Strong Country Bitter, Wethered’s Bitter, West County Pale Ale and Winter Royal.

Three of Britain’s breweries are set to close. Carlsberg-Tetley announces plans to end production at Allsopp’s in Burton-upon-Trent, Alloa in Scotland and Wrexham Lager unless buyers can be found.

30 Years Ago
October 1987

Lancashire’s Matthew Brown brewery is acquired by Scottish & Newcastle through a hostile bid valued at around £186 million. Having failed to buy the Blackburn company before, this time S&N is successful, leaving the future of both Matthew Brown and its subsidiary, Theakston – which runs breweries in Masham and Workington – in some doubt.

Manchester’s Boddingtons Brewery rejects a take-over bid worth around £270 million from Midsummer Leisure, the company that started life as CAMRA Investments and now operates discos and snooker halls as well as pubs. Boddingtons also begins production of canned Newton & Ridley Bitter (OG 1035), a tie-in with the Granada soap Coronation Street. The beer is famous for being served in the series’ pub, the Rovers Return.

Leicester’s Hoskins Brewery buys the famous Black Country brew pub The Old Swan. The Netherton pub, better known to many as ‘Ma Pardoe’s’ was one of the few surviving home brew houses when the first Good Beer Guide was published in 1974.

Grand Metropolitan launches a £3 million television advertising campaign for its Webster’s Yorkshire Bitter. Meanwhile, CAMRA calls for a complete ban on alcohol advertising in the mass media with the launch of the 1988 Good Beer Guide, describing the practice as ‘irresponsible, almost an incitement to over-consumption among drinkers, especially the young’.