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Guild Member Profile

Ian Webster

Burton upon Trent Brewing Historian
  • Full member
  • senior biomedical scientist
  • Midlands
  • camra
  • bhs
  • national brewery heritage trust
  • The brewing history of Burton upon Trent.

What is the one thing you'd like to tell visitors to the Guild's website?

Author of local bestsellers “Ind Coope & Samuel Allsopp Breweries: The History of the Hand” and “Brewing in Burton upon Trent.”

What you can offer as a writer/beer lover?

I was born in Burton upon Trent, within the smell of Bass, Marston’s, Ind Coope, Truman’s and Everard’s. I am captivated by the town’s brewing past and present and have published two books on the subject, my second “Brewing in Burton upon Trent” came out in January 2018.

What do you like most about being a Guild of Beer Writers member?

It’s an honour to be accepted into a Guild that has so many internationally renowned beer writers.

Pieces of work by Ian:

  • Ind Coope & Samuel Allsopp Breweries: The History of the Hand

    Ind Coope & Samuel Allsopp Breweries: The History Of The Hand charts the fortunes of two Burton upon Trent brewing giants: Samuel Allsopp, founded in the town in 1742 by Benjamin Wilson (Senior) and Ind Coope, who expanded to Burton upon Trent from Romford in 1856. Events detailed include the early years under the Wilsons, the Baltic Trade, Allsopp’s India Pale Ale, Arctic Ale, prosperity and growth in the mid-Victorian era, the disastrous stock market floatation of Samuel Allsopp & Sons Ltd, hardship in the early twentieth century and the merger and rebirth as Ind Coope & Allsopp Ltd in 1934.

    The post-war years saw the development of strong brands including Double Diamond, Long Life and Skol. Further mergers led to the formation of Ind Coope Tetley Ansells Ltd in 1961. Renamed Allied Breweries Ltd in 1963, this was followed by a period of unprecedented growth. In the 1980s the company underwent a major streamlining reorganisation. In 1990 Draught Burton Ale was CAMRA Champion Beer of Britain. A merger with Carlsberg in 1992 formed Carlsberg-Tetley Ltd, and the name Ind Coope was slowly phased-out, the site eventually being sold to rivals Bass in 1997.

    Researched from the extensive company archives and other literature, this book not only deals in historical fact but brings the story to life, with anecdotes about brewery life that are often humorous and candid, taken from numerous interviews with ex-employees ranging from directors and managers through to operators on the brewery floor.

    Amberley Publishing December 2015

  • Brewing in Burton upon Trent

    Brewing in Burton upon Trent tells the story of the Brewing Capital of the World.

    Back in the twelfth century the Abbots of Burton began to produce beer; the dissolution of the Abbey in the sixteenth century saw inns and alehouses appear, many selling beer brewed on site.

    The first recognisable brewery was Benjamin Printon’s, established on Horninglow Street in around 1708. By 1780 there were thirteen, many exporting their ale to the Baltic and all using the water taken from wells deep under the town. By the 1820s a new market had opened up – India: Allsopp’s, Bass and Salt’s quickly began to export India Pale Ale.

    The Trent & Mersey Canal, built in 1774–75, allowed further expansion, but it was the coming of the railway in 1839 that led to massive growth – by 1888 there were thirty-one breweries employing over 8,000 men producing over three million barrels per annum.

    The twentieth century saw bankruptcies and mergers, and the formation of giants Bass Charrington Ltd, Allied Breweries Ltd and Marston, Thompson & Evershed Ltd. Today Burton still has a vibrant industry – Marston’s, Molson Coors and the smaller concerns Burton Bridge, Tower, Heritage, Black Hole, Gates, Old Cottage and the newest addition Burton Town.

    Amberley Publishing January 2018