The Brewery History Society: Exploring brewery archives
Exploring brewery archives
This page attempts to give some basic guidance to those interested in researching brewery histories, archives, pub estates, etc.
A useful source book is THE BREWING INDUSTRY - A GUIDE TO HISTORICAL RECORDS, edited by Lesley Richmond & Alison Turton (Manchester University Press, 1990). This is now out-of-print and will be somewhat out-of-date, given the changes in the industry. However, copies are often available at county records offices, which should be the first point of contact for research.
In 2010, Lynn Pearson on behalf of the Brewery History Society provided an update of Brewery Archives which is available on the English Heritage web site.
Other than Bass / Coors and Scottish Courage, the other major players dispersed most of their papers to the appropriate counties, so queries should be addressed to the county record office appropriate to the brewery.
In most instances, papers lodged will be more related to the brewery, rather than the pub estate. Some pub estate books do exist, for instance Benskins, but these were something of an exception.
An important source will be local trade directories and newspapers for the area and period being researched. In some cases, there may be licensing papers, and these would normally be held at the records offices.
Researchers can also search online Archive sites (there are many of them), as increasingly if items have been catalogued they will be online.
For information about individual breweries and possible locations of their archives, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.