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11th December 2018

Yorkshire brewery launches unique treasure hunt with serpents, dragons and real gold

ADVENTURERS and beer drinkers will encounter serpents, sea monsters, dragons and vampires in their search for gold, thanks to a unique new treasure hunt launched in the region’s food and drink capital.

Brass Castle Brewery, in Malton, has researched legends and myths from Yorkshire folklore through the centuries for its new Bigger Picture project.

Over the next 12 months, the brewery will revive the stories through a series of nine canned beers, the labels of which can be pieced together to form a fantasy map of Yorkshire, giving clues to a final treasure spot. The artwork has all been created by Leeds-based Claudia Bowler.

The label for the first beer features the Slingsby Serpent, and will be launched this week, almost exactly 400 years on from the earliest surviving account of the local wyvern (or dragon).

In 1619, the antiquary Roger Dodsworth recounted the story of a serpent having lived in a recess near the village of Slingsby. It was said the villagers re-routed the road to avoid its lair, before it was slain by a member of the local Wyville family.

Phil Saltonstall, owner and founder of Brass Castle Brewery, the country’s foremost producer of vegan and gluten-free craft beer, said: “The team came up with the idea of a number of labels that could be combined into a bigger picture. I’m a big map fan so it struck me that a treasure map idea would be fun. Because the map builds over nine labels, it’s easier to hide clues that only really come together once all the labels are combined.

“Once I’d begun to think of treasure maps, we started to think of sea monsters and other legendary creatures that cartographers often imagined into their work, and I was absolutely delighted to realise that Yorkshire folklore is awash with legends and mythical creatures that we could recall within this.

“It has been fascinating to research all the stories and we are also pleased to place Malton prominently within the map, characterised by a Brass Castle.  Malton is Yorkshire’s Food Capital and annually becomes BEERTOWN after all – that’s why the first beer is called ‘Where’s Malton?’

“The clues hidden in the label designs all point to one staffed location, and staff there know they are the finishing point. The first person to approach the staff there with the combined clues will receive the treasure, which – in keeping with a treasure map – is solid, genuine gold. They can do as they wish with that, or we can donate it to charity on their behalf – it’s entirely up to them. Subsequent claimants will receive a smaller token award.”

Sir Gary Verity DL, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: “What a fantastic initiative led by the award-winning Brass Castle Brewery, incorporating Yorkshire folklore with Yorkshire beer! Yorkshire pubs are known for being the heart of a community, so I’m certain that this project will add a unique new dimension to conversation over a beer! I’m looking forward to visiting Malton to find one for myself.”

Tom Naylor-Leyland, the driving force behind Malton’s foodie revolution said: “What a fantastic and creative idea. I can’t wait to see and taste what Brass Castle have got in store for us. New craft beer, sea serpents and all ‘Made In Malton’. What’s not to like?”

The first beer, Where’s Malton? – an Ekuanot and Amarillo-hopped DDH Pale Ale – is launched this week and others will follow roughly every six weeks for the next year.  The game is afoot!


Brass Castle Brewery was founded in 2011 in Pocklington, and moved to Malton amid rapid expansion in 2013. It has won a series of national awards, including SIBA’s UK Supreme Champion Cask Beer award in 2015 and its UK Champion Lager award in 2016 and 2017.

The annual BEERTOWN festival – organised by Brass Castle and Bad Seed breweries in Malton – generates significant charitable monies for local good causes and is referenced on the ‘Where’s Malton?’ label.  The inset pic of individuals enjoying the festival features at least seven Brass Castle brewery employees.

The full list of ‘Bigger Picture’ beers is, in release order:

Where’s Malton?, includes the legend of the Slingsby Serpent and the stories of local woodcats.

The Western Wall, includes the legend of the Cottingley Faeries and the drowned village at Semer Water – describing the land to the West of Yorkshire as BADLANDS.

Monsters of the Deep, based on the series of 1920s newspaper reports of a sea monster inhabiting the Humber Estuary.

Kingdom of the Sparkle Pony, including fantastical imagery of unicorns.

‘Ware Outlaws, drawing on the stories of South Yorkshire as Robin Hood and Dick Turpin’s stomping grounds.

Sea Raiders & Shield-Maidens, focusing on smuggling and Viking raids on the north coast.

Werewolf vs Gytrash, including the traditional legend of gytrash, the black dog said to haunt rural Yorkshire roads, awaiting lone travellers.

Here be Dragons, based on the legend that Filey Brigg is a sleeping dragon.

Jack-in-Irons, based on the mythical Yorkshire giant of that name.


For further information or alternative images, contact:

Gavin Aitchison: