Craft Cans

10, 20 and 30 Years Ago

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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
February 2008

Yorkshire’s Timothy Taylor brewery marks its 150th anniversary with a new commemorative brew, a golden ale called, appropriately, Celebration Ale.

Scottish & Newcastle agrees to a take-over bid from a consortium led by Carlsberg and Heineken. The deal, worth £8 billion, will see S&N’s empire around the world carved up and shared out between the successful bidders. Meanwhile, S&N announces the closure of its lager brewery on the outskirts of Reading, with the loss of up to 362 jobs.

20 Years Ago
February 1998

Former Salisbury brewery Gibbs Mew is acquired by the pub group Enterprise Inns. Gibbs Mew closed its brewery in 1997 but retained its 310 pubs. These now join the Enterprise estate following a successful bid of £48 million.

Llanelli’s Buckley’s brewery closes after 230 years. The brewery merged with Cardiff rival Brains in 1997 and all Buckley’s production has now transferred to the Welsh capital.

30 Years Ago
February 1988

Grand Metropolitan, the owner of Watney’s, sells off more than 700 pubs, including more than a third of its pubs in Norfolk, for a total sum of around £80 million. Leisure business Brent Walker takes 386 of the pubs in London, the Home Counties and East Anglia, private company Heron International buys 210 pubs in the Midlands and the North, and Gibbs Mew acquires 105 pubs in the South and South West.

David Bruce places his chain of Firkin pubs and breweries on the market. Eleven pubs in London are for sale, with the brand names ‘Bruce’s Brewery’ and ‘Dogbolter’ being offered separately. Bids for the estate are welcome until April, with the package thought to be worth around £6.5 million.

Plans by Bradford Council to ban the Autovac dispense system for cask ale are shelved but new rules for the use of this method of serving beer now have to be observed locally. These include a strict cleaning regime, efficient glass-washing equipment and the use of a fresh glass for every pour. The change of heart follows local protests that included the presentation of petition with 13,000 signatures. The move has not swayed the Tetley brewery, however, which is committed to the removal of the Autovac from its pubs, in favour of a new ‘agitator’ system which it claims successfully does the job of the Autovac.

The British Guild of Beer Writers is formed ‘to improve the standards of writing and broadcasting on beer, the status of journalists and authors involved, and the public’s understanding and appreciation of the quality of beer’. There are around fifty founder members and the chairman is Michael Jackson.

The last brew takes place at Wem Brewery in Shropshire, as the closure announced by owner Greenall Whitley last year takes effect.