The county’s economic leader is celebrating the huge contribution of the brewing industry to Staffordshire’s economy.
Recent research estimates the industry supports around 1,200 jobs in the county and, including the supply chain, is worth about £66 million annually to the local economy, with beers from Staffordshire being exported all over the world.
Speaking to mark the national ‘Beer Day Britain’ celebration on June 15, Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet member for Economic Growth, said: “Brewing has been part of this county’s way of life for a thousand years and its brands are known and loved around the world. Staffordshire is home to everything from the largest breweries employing hundreds of people, to micro-breweries run by a handful, but the one thing they have in common is a dedication to producing one of the world’s best-loved products to the highest-possible standard.”
Brewing in Staffordshire can trace its roots back to the monasteries, with beer being produced in Burton from the 11th century, and in Stone from the 12th. While the fundamental principles remained the same, the onset of industrialisation saw the volumes produced increase quickly to keep pace with the demands of the British Empire – for example, having been founded in Burton in 1777, by 1900 Bass alone was producing 1.5 million barrels a year.
Mark Winnington said: “The brewing industry is a magnificent example of how existing businesses can thrive and new ones prosper in Staffordshire thanks to the infrastructure, skilled workforce on tap and good connections with the rest of the world. Formerly the Bass Museum, Bass’s legacy remains today with The National Brewery Centre, identified by the Lonely Plant tourist guide as having “one of the finest tap rooms, bars and breweries in the world”.
As well as the Molson Coors, Marston’s, Burton Old Cottage, Burton Bridge, Gates Burton, Tower and Black Hole breweries in Burton, Staffordshire’s roll of honour includes Beowulf in Brownhills; Blythe Brewery in Hamstall Ridware; Enville Brewery, Enville; Flash Brewery, Flash; Freedom in Abbots Bromley; Grey Friars in Featherstone; Kinver Brewery, Kinver; Lymestone in Stone; Morton in Essington; Peakstones Rock in Alton; Quartz in Kings Bromley; Shugborough Brewery in Milford; Slater’s Ales, Stafford; Talke O’ Th’ Hill in Talke; and both Townhouse and Weal Ale breweries in Newcastle.
Mark Winnington added: “The other dimension to Staffordshire’s beer success can be seen in the first class food and drink festivals that abound in the county and draw visitors in their thousands. There’s a real interest in high quality, locally sourced produce and Staffordshire has a wide range of beer to suit everyone’s palate.”
Celebrations for Beer Day Britain begin at 7pm on the 15th, when people are encouraged to support the industry by raising a glass of beer, followed by a series of events leading up to Father’s Day on Sunday 18th.