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26th March 2013


Working in collaboration with writer and beer sommelier, Jane Peyton, Ilkley Brewery has taken Scandinavian inspiration to create a spruce beer named the Norseman.
The 5% ruby coloured ale has been made using locally foraged pine needles from spruce trees, along with Douglas fir needles and buds from Ilkley Moor. The beer has a soft bitterness, with pine and herbs on the nose, and is made using entirely English hops.
The Norseman is the latest beer in Ilkley Brewery’s Origins range which features beers that celebrate traditional methods and innovative brewing techniques from around the world.
Speaking about the Norse-inspired brew, Jane Peyton said: “I’m fascinated by historic brews, love English hops, I’m keen on foraging and am a Yorkshire woman with Viking DNA so the Norseman is my perfect beer!”
Luke Raven from Ilkley Brewery added: “The Norseman is exactly the kind of unconventional beer that slots perfectly into the Origins range. We’ve used spruce foraged on our doorstep, fantastic English hops and with Jane’s expert palate, we have created a beer that is fit for battle.”
Spruce roots
It is believed that spruce beers were introduced to Britain by the Vikings and would have been drunk in Yorkshire, a region ruled by the Vikings in the 10th century. The beer was thought to give strength in battle, boost fertility and prevent scurvy.
In Viking culture, women were the brewers and by law, women owned the brew kit so if a marriage ended or a husband tried to sell his wife’s possessions, he could not take or sell the brew kit.
Its other historical link is with Yorkshire man Captain James Cook. The explorer carried spruce beer on his ships for the crew as it was believed that the vitamin C in spruce would help prevent scurvy.  Captain Cook’s ship was called Endeavour so in homage, Ilkley Brewery chose to use English-grown Endeavour hops as well as Admiral hops, another English variety, in a nod to spruce beer’s seafaring past. The Norseman is the first Ilkley Brewery Origins beer to use all-English hops.
Haworth’s Brontë sisters were also known to make their own spruce beer, both as alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions, using pine needles sourced from the iconic moors that inspired Emily to write Wuthering Heights.
In addition to its English hops, the Norseman is a complex beer with six different malts to add body and character. The beer is available now in cask.
To find out more about Ilkley Brewery, visit: or follow Ilkley Brewery on Twitter @Ilkleybrewery and Facebook
High resolution images available for download here:
Writer and beer sommelier, Jane Peyton
The Norseman – a locally foraged spruce beer made in collaboration with renowned beer writer and sommelier, Jane Peyton
Media contact:
For further media information, please contact Katy Barraclough, Conway PR, on 07813 094945 / 01943 430257 or email
Notes to editors:
The Ilkley Brewery Co. Ltd. was founded in January 2009. In May 2009, it launched its first beer, Olicana Gold, which was closely followed by Ilkley Best and Ilkley Original who were joined in the summer by the now famous Mary Jane.
A string of awards has followed with most of the beers now brewed by the brewery winning medals at beer competitions up and down the country.
In January 2011, Ilkley Brewery secured a debt and equity package from Glentrool Capital Partners LLP, who also provide corporate support to help grow the company. This enabled Ilkley Brewery to move from its premises on East Parade to a new 2,600 square foot brewery on Ashlands Road, Ilkley. A new 20 barrel brewing plant was installed allowing the brewery to produce 23,000 pints a week.


In October 2011, a new 30 barrel fermenter was acquired, taking production to over 32,000 pints a week. In March 2012, production capacity expanded again to close to 40,000 pints a week.
In January 2012, Ilkley Brewery was crowned one of Yorkshire’s most promising companies in the Government-backed Local Business Accelerators campaign, going onto win the national prize in August 2012 for being one of the country’s fastest growing and successful businesses.


April 2012 saw the launch of the Origins range, showcasing the best in beer styles and brewing. Medina and Siberia were the first collaboration brews with renowned beer writers, and The Chief, Victorian Pale Dinner Ale, Wit Marie, Green Goddess, and Holy Cow have since followed to much critical acclaim.


As of August 2012, bottles of Mary Jane, Ilkley Best, Ilkley Black and Ilkley Pale are available in Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Booths supermarkets across the north of England, as well as Harvey Nichols stores and restaurants nationally.


Additional SIBA medals for Ilkley Black and Lotus IPA were awarded in October 2012 (Bronze and Silver respectively).


November 2012 saw the first export sales to leave the UK.