Thwaites Brewery is a regional brewery founded in 1807 by Daniel
Thwaites in Blackburn, Lancashire, England. The firm still operates
from its original town centre site, although the original brewery was
demolished in 2011, and part of its beer business was sold to
Marston's in March 2015. Today, Thwaites still produces beer but it
in much smaller quantities as it only sells to its own estate of pubs,
inns and hotels. In 1999, the Mitchell brewery in Lancaster closed
down, and was bought in part by Thwaites. Lancaster Bomber has since
been available from Thwaites public houses after being acquired in the
takeover. Lancaster Bomber is now brewed by Marston's, as is
Wainwright, the other top-selling Thwaite's beer.
The company has over 270 pubs, mainly in the North of England but
reaching from the North Lakes area down to Solihull &
Leicestershire. It also has six four-star Hotels & Spas and eight
Inns of Characters
The brewery invested heavily in pasteurised keg beers, especially
those powered by nitro in the 1990s. However, it is now working to
increase the market for its cask beers. Thwaites unveiled a new
craft brewery in December 2011 named "Crafty Dan".
1.2 Expansion into the 20th century
1.3 Shire horses
1.4 Recent History
2 Cask ales
3.1 Beer awards
3.2 Pub awards
3.3 Business awards
Lancashire County Cricket Club sponsorship
7 External links
Thwaites brewery in
Blackburn town centre.
Local brewer and pub retailer
Daniel Thwaites has been based in
Lancashire since 1807.
Born in 1777,
Daniel Thwaites first began brewing in
Blackburn in 1807
when he joined the 'Eanam Brewery' in partnership with local
businessmen, Edward Duckworth and William Clayton. At the age of 31,
Daniel married Edward's daughter Betty, who later inherited her
father's share of the company following his death in 1822.
In 1824, the Brewery became the sole property of 'Thwaites' when
William Clayton sold his remaining share of the cony to Daniel.
Daniel and Betty Thwaites went on to have twelve children, four sons
and eight daughters.
Daniel Thwaites Jnr was born in 1817, the sixth
of their twelve children.
Daniel Thwaites Jnr and his brothers John
and Thomas later inherited the brewery following the death of their
Daniel Thwaites Snr, in 1843.
The decade of the 1850s was one of growth for the brewery and
increasing prosperity for the Thwaites partners. Thomas left the
partnership and in 1858, following the earlier death of his mother and
the retirement of his other brother, John,
Daniel Thwaites Jnr became
the sole owner of the brewery. One year later, he married Eliza Amelia
Gregory and they had a son, Edward, who died in infancy and daughter,
Elma Amy Thwaites.
The Plough at Eaves, a Thwaites pub.
The official announcement of the dissolution of the partnership
published in the London Gazette on 25 February 1859 stated that it was
by mutual consent. Daniel, who ran the brewery with the help of
manager Joseph Smith and property adviser Henry Gornall had now been a
partner for fifteen years. During this period he expanded the firm and
shown himself to be an astute, ambitious and experienced brewer.
Meanwhile, following the purchase of the Snig Brook Brewery in 1863,
the brewery continued to prosper and develop in size. During this
period, Eanam Brewery expanded production to provide 100,000 barrels a
year by 1878. The business also had to adapt to various pieces of
legislation, introduced by Gladstone's Liberal government. The 1869
Wine and Beer House Act gave licensing power back to the magistrates
and was intended as a measure of control over the more unsavoury beer
shops. It was followed by the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Act of
1872, which introduced higher licence fees, licensing inspectors,
reduced opening hours, restrictions on the sale of spirits to those
'apparently under the age of 16' and increased penalties for licensing
The drink issue was of great importance to Daniel, not only as a
brewer but also as a Conservative politician. He went on to become the
Blackburn from 1875 until 1880 and became well known
nationally. Locally, he was described as a good landlord who owned
some of the best public houses in Blackburn.
Having become a wealthy man,
Daniel Thwaites Jnr died in 1888, leaving
his only daughter
Elma Thwaites and her husband
Robert Yerburgh to
inherit the brewery.
Expansion into the 20th century
By 1897 Thwaites had grown enough to become a Limited company but the
real expansion came after the First World War. In 1923, Thwaites
bought the James Pickup Wines & Spirits Company and then Henry
Shaw & Co, which owned the New Brewery in Salford. In 1925
Thwaites began bottling its beers and in 1927 they bought the Fountain
Elma Yerburgh died leaving trusted colleague Albert Whittle to
look after the brewery whilst her grandson, John was away at war. In
1946 and 1956 respectively, the brewery purchased the Bury Brewing
Company and the Preston Brewery Company and in 1966 the Eanam Brewery
was extended and renamed
Daniel Thwaites 'The Star Brewery'.
During the 1960s Thwaites public houses were in abundance across the
town and Daniel Thwaites' ales had become popular throughout East
Lancashire. 1966 saw the opening of the new £5.5m Brewery and
brewhouse followed in 1972 by a new £3m bottling plant, considered to
be 'the last word in bottling complexes.' Huge numbers of people and
group tours came to see the brave new world of brewing at the new Star
The '70s and '80s saw the purchase of Yates & Jackson of Lancaster
and Thwaites winning the first of its two Champion Beer of Britain
awards, bringing national recognition to the family brewer.
Throughout this time, John Yerburgh, Elma Yerburgh's grandson, was the
Brewery's chairman and he saw his great great Grandfather's business
grow and flourish to become a well-respected regional brewer.
In 2002, John's wife, Mrs Ann Yerburgh, became the Brewery chairman
and her passion for brewing award-winning beers in
as strong as for the Thwaites forefathers back in 1807. John died in
In 2017, Thwaites was granted planning permission to build a new
brewery, stables and head office in Mellor, around 5 miles from its
current location in Blackburn.
The sound that was continuously heard in
Blackburn throughout the 19th
century was the clattering of horses hooves along the cobbled streets.
The majority of these were work horses. Stable lads would lead the
Thwaites horses out of the stables in Syke Street, across the road
(until the end of the 19th century when the stables moved to the
brewery site) and into the brewery yard where they waited patiently
for their carts and drays to be loaded with the day's deliveries.
These 'gentle giants' were to become a familiar sight in
many years. In the 1920s however, most breweries decided to put their
shire horses 'out to grass' and switch to motor transport. In 1927,
the last of the Thwaites shire horses were led out of the brewery for
the last time.
By the 1950s the shire horse had practically ceased to exist. But in
1957 an enterprising young manager called David Kay of Thwaites' soft
drinks department wanted to bring the Shire dray horses back. Two
years later, in 1959, he got his wish and was allowed to introduce two
dray horses to the brewery's local route. He was convinced that the
dray horses would not only attract good publicity for Thwaites but
would be financially advantageous against the backdrop of rising fuel
costs. On May Day in 1960 the first two shire horses were led out of
the smart new Thwaites stables. The return of horse transport was a
great success and the people of
Blackburn soon grew used to sharing
the magnificent brewery horses with the rest of the country.
In 2016, Thwaites acquired a third horse that has been named Gunner to
celebrate 13 Guns, a beer produced by the company.
2010 marked fifty years of the reintroduction of horse-drawn
deliveries after they ended in the 1920s. Over the years, the fame of
the Shires has spread throughout the country, embodying the
traditional values integral to Daniel Thwaites' heritage. To celebrate
the anniversary, a commemorative sculpture featuring three of the
multi-award-winning Shire horses in a unicorn configuration was
Daniel Thwaites stables have enjoyed great success over the last
50 years. In a nine-year period, the Shires have won the
world-renowned National Championship seven times, which is the
ultimate achievement and recognition for a
Shire horse and its team.
Further success has been enjoyed at the Royal Show which the Shires
have won five times in the pairs. They won the pairs, singles and team
events at the Great Yorkshire Show and have enjoyed further wins at
every major county show throughout the UK. The stables team includes
Head Horse Keeper, Charles Beardmore who has been in the position for
an impressive 40 years. 2010 also marked the 25th Anniversary of the
Shire Horses' return being honoured by the Mayor of
Blackburn in 1985
for their commitment to the town of
Blackburn as ambassadors. This was
the first time ever that such an honour had been awarded to horses.
Picture of a present-day Thwaites pub, with the new Thwaites logo
Thwaites started with ten public houses in 1807. Based at the Star
Brewery in Blackburn, Thwaites now owns an estate of around 270 pubs,
a small but growing group of characterful coaching inns known as
Thwaites Inns of Character and six four-star full service regional
hotels and spas, which traded under the Shire Hotels banner until 2016
when they were brought under the Thwaites brand.
In addition, Thwaites supplies a full range of drinks to many
independently owned pubs, clubs and restaurants in the North of
England and beyond and a wide range of bottled beers to most major
Having reached a historic milestone in 2007 - celebrating 200 years of
brewing excellence, Thwaites announced that it continued to look
forward to a future that will continue to build upon the ideals and
beliefs born 200 years ago when
Daniel Thwaites first began the
northern brewery. However, there were many turbulent changes in
following years (qv)
The family tradition continues to this present day. Ann Yerburgh is
Chairman, son-in-law Richard Bailey is Chief Executive Officer and
Arabella Yerburgh is a Non-Exec Director.
In 2011 Thwaites announced plans to build a new state-of-the-art
brewery. The move, which is anticipated to take place in three to four
years time will improve the brewers operational efficiency and signals
Thwaites' continued commitment to brewing quality ales.
At the end of 2011, Thwaites installed a new 200k craft brewery within
the Star Brewery in
Blackburn named 'Crafty Dan'. Featuring three new
fermenters, Crafty Dan enables Thwaites to create up to three new
beers a week as well as one off brews to mark special events. In 2016,
as part of a drive to bring all parts of the business under a single
brand, it was renamed Thwaites brewery.
In January 2012, Thwaites agreed to purchase the free trade interests
of Hydes Brewery.
In January 2014, the company made the wrong kind of national
headlines. Thwaites' proposed closure of its Star Brewery and 60
brewing redundancies led to staff temporarily switching off the H, I
and E in the company's brewery sign to spell "Twats". Thwaites'
inability to select an alternative site for its brewery and to
conclude a deal to sell its site to Sainsbury's received criticism in
many areas including the local press and brewing industry. The
Tandleman blog suggested that apart from the beers produced in the
renowned Crafty Dan craft brewery, Thwaites would contract out
production of its beers permanently to other breweries.
This proved prescient; the core beers were contracted out to Marston's
and the latter company bought the top two (Wainwright's and Lancaster
Bomber) and the bulk of Thwaites' beer business in March 2015 for
£25.1m. Marstons will continue to supply Thwaites pubs with beer
under a long-term contract whilst Thwaites will contionue to produce
(much reduced) volumes for its own pubs by retaining its microbrewery
Thwaites produce a wide range of quality cask ales including the core
range and limited edition Signature Ale range which was launched in
2011. 2012 saw the introduction of the Quarterly Favourites range
featuring the four most popular beers from the 2011 Signature Ale
The following four core beers have been brewed by
2014. In March 2015
Marston's bought all rights to Wainwright and
Lancaster Bomber and a short-term licence to use the Thwaite's
Owned by Marston's. Formerly sold under the Thwaites brand by Marstons
but Thwaites branding discontinued 2016
Wainwright – named after Alfred Wainwright, the renowned Lakeland
author who was born in Blackburn. Wainwright is a refreshing 4.1% ABV
golden ale with subtle sweetness and delicate citrus fruity overtones.
Lancaster Bomber – A 4.4& ABV chestnut-coloured beer brewed
using pale ale and crystal malt, giving a full-bodied flavour.
Owned by Thwaite's. Contract brewed by Marston's
Nutty Black – Dark kiln roasted malts, English barley and selected
fuggles and golden hops used to create the 3.3% bittersweet dark mild
with a dry finish. Nutty Black has won the Champion Beer of Britain
Original – A clean, dry tasting and refreshing 3.6% ABV bitter with
a glowing amber appearance. Brewed by
Daniel Thwaites himself in 1807,
it’s brewed using premium grade Maris Otter malt and a blend of
traditional English hops including Goldings and Fuggles.
Crafty Dan Range
Thwaites first introduced the Signature Ale range in 2011. Following
the success Thwaites had 12 guest ales lined-up for 2012 as follows:
• Old Dan – 6.5% ABV old ale
• Tavern Porter – 4.7% ABV porter
• Eggroller – 4.5% ABV chocolate stout
• Logan’s Run – 4.3% ABV fruit beer
• Torch Light – 4.4% ABV golden ale (especially brewed to mark the
Olympic Torch relay)
• Whet Your Whistle – 4.6% ABV golden ale (brewed to celebrate the
• 13 Guns – 5.5% ABV American Indian Pale Ale
• Naked Runner – 3.8% session ale (an Olympic creation)
• Hobnobber – 4.7% ABV amber ale
• Golden Wunder – 5.0% Oktoberfest ale
• Hit the North – 4.8% Indian Pale Ale
• Good Elf – 4.3% Dark Ale
Quarterly Favourites Range
The new Quarterly Favourites range features the most popular beers
from the 2011 Signature Ale range and includes:
• Triple C – 4.2% ABV blonde ale
• Fine Rain – 4.1% ABV golden ale
• Half Nelson – 4.4% ABV pale ale
• Crafty Devil – 4.3% ABV ruby ale
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European Beer Star Award 2011
Lancaster Bomber – gold medal in English style bitter category
Wainwright bottled ale – silver medal in English style golden ale
International Beer Challenge 2011
Old Dan – bronze medal in design and packaging category
Design Effectiveness Awards 2012
Great British Pub Awards 2011
The Griffin Inn – Yorkshire and North East Newcomer for the Year
The Saddle Inn – North West Family Pub of the Year Award
Lancashire Telegraph Awards 2011
Thwaites Area Business Managers – Team of the Year Award
AA Hospitality Awards 2016–17
Thwaites Hotels – Hotel Group of the Year
Lancashire County Cricket Club sponsorship
Thwaites Wainwright has been the official sponsor of
Cricket Club since 2005.
The Thwaites logo has undergone several changes since the brewery's
foundation. The traditional logo was simplified to a gold and red
emblem featuring the shire horses on the top and remained in use until
The traditional brewery logo.
Modern logo used until 2011.
The newly adopted logo is based on vintage designs from the 19th
century, but for the first time in the brewery's history, the famous
shire horses which have been part of the emblem for almost 200 years
have been dropped from its  design.
^ Champ, Hamish (2007-06-29). "Thwaites warns of interest rate
threat". The Publican. Retrieved 2008-04-11.
^ "Sainsbury's snaps up brewery as supermarkets desperately scramble
for sites". Thisismoney.co.uk. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
Marston's taps into Thwaites' assets for £25m". The Times.
Retrieved 10 June 2016.
Marston's buys Thwaites brewing arm".
Business-reporter.co.uk. 31 March 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
^ "Thwaites". Beer-pages.com. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
^ "Fond tributes paid as Thwaites chief 'Mr John' dies, aged 91".
Lancashiretelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
^ "New home for Thwaites". Lancashiretelegraph.co.ukaccessdate=8
^ "Thwaites brings pubs, inns and hotels under single brand name".
Knutsford Guardian. 27 September 2016. Retrieved 8 February
^ Bourke, Dan (25 January 2014). "Thwaites brewery sign is rudely
recast after firm announces redundancies". Mirror.co.uk. Retrieved 10
Blackburn brewery, Thwaites, to axe up to 60 jobs".
Lancashiretelegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
^ "Tandleman's Beer Blog: A Piss Up in a Brewery?".
Tandlemanbeerblog.blogspot.co.uk. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
^ a b "
Marston's buys Thwaites brewing arm in £25.1m deal".
Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
Lancashire County Cricket Club : Brewery Tour For Players".
Lccc.co.uk. 1 March 2011. Retrieved 2016-06-10.
^ "AA Hotel Group of the Year". Bighospitality.co.uk. 27 September
2016. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
Lancashire County Cricket Club : Brewery Tour For Players".
Lccc.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-06-10.
^ Hopper, Chris (2 May 2011). "New logo for
History of brewery
Shire Hotels Division site
Thwaites Inns of Character Official site
The Thwaites family tree
The Thwaites Family by Gordon Hartley
Anne Constance Yerburgh on thepeerage.com
Family tree of t