Monday, 18 November 2013

The Brewing Industry at Newark

It's weird the things you find by accident. While searching the newspaper archive for Warwick's adverts I found a couple of long articles on the brewing industry in Newark. Published in, of all things, the Grantham Journal.

I've always seen Grantham as Newark's evil twin. Odd to see them lavish praise on Newark's breweries.

This article is about one of the smaller Newark breweries, Goodwin Brothers. I'm pretty sure this is what was later known as Davy's Brewery. Though it says the brewery was on Balderton Gate, I'm sure the official address was on Barnby Gate, where there's still a sign saying "Devon Brewery". The Devon - pronounced Dee - von - is a tributary of the Trent, joining it just on the edge of Newark.

The brewery closed sometime after WW I. I can remember the brewery buildings still standing at least until the 1980's. It was pretty obviously a former brewery. The Cross Keys -  now called the Mail Coach - on Beaumond Cross used to have an etched glass Davy's window. That was about the only trace of the brewery remaining.

Goodwin's/Davy's was on a much smaller scale than the two major Newark breweries, Hole's and Warwick's & Richardson's. By the 1960's, those two both had 200+ tied pubs.


There is no industry that has made such Strides of late years in the historic borough of Newark as that of brewing, and the prediction that in course of time the town would become "a second Burton" seems to be rapidly approaching fulfilment. For many long years Newark has held the highest reputation for the superior qualities of its malt, and the honoured names of such merchants as the Gilstraps, the Branstons, the Thorpes, the Holes, the Bishops, the and others are "familiar as household words" in the great world of commerce. The annual out-put of malt is enormous, and, as we write, a new range kilns of vast capacity is in course construction for one of the leading firms. It was natural that in the metropolis of malt, and in the midst of an abundant supply of water specially adapted for brewing, the kindred industry should rise and flourish, and recent years have seen wondrous strides in the facilities provided for the production of the national beverage. Amongst the large firms which have made great progress in the extent the out-put of their popular beers is that of Messrs, Goodwin Bros., which, having in 1883 a return of less than 4,000 barrels, has so extended its premises in Baldertongate and its business connections that it this year produced 12,373 barrels, paying the Government in duty £3,885. The brewery stands back from the roadwav so that the public who pass down Baldertongate have little idea its extent. As we have lately had the pleasure paying it a visit, a brief description may not uninteresting.

Proceeding to the top of the principal tower we were first shown the lift by which the malt is carried into the malt stores, and also into the hopper ready for crushing. Samples of the different malts were ready for inspection, which, so far could judge, were of the finest quality, and we were informed were the very best that could be bought, and specially malted principles suited the various beers to be produced. The whole malt passes from the hopper to the rollers, and is crushed at the rate about ??? quarters per hour, and falls into the malt hopper below. In this room are also the two hot liquor tanks of eighty and thirty barrels. Descending to the room in which placed the principal shaft, it is here to be noted that so simple, and yet perfect, are the arrangements that this one shaft alone are placed all the pulleys necessary for the movements of lifting, pumping, crushing, &c. In this room, and also partly in the next room, the large malt grist ???? capable of containing more than thirty quarters of malt. It is stained and varnished. To this is attached a steel mashing machine in which the water or liquor, as it is called, and the ground malt are mixed. This mixing is accomplished by means of a rapidly revolving shaft, which causes the mash to pour into the mash-tun placed in the next room. The mash-tun is fitted with revolving rakes for completing the work, and with Cave's gun-metal slotted false bottoms. The tun is handsomely lagged and bound with brass hoops, and has a polished mahogany top. It 20 quarter tun, and this regulates the size of the plant. Standing this room, and looking over a ??? brass rail, a view is obtained of the copper, and to the room in which this is placed we now descended. First to attract attention was large copper vessel, which we were informed was a wort converter fitted with a patent steam coil so that the operator is enabled to raise the heat of the wort to any point desirable. From the bottom of the mash-tun proceed six copper pipes, ending in six taps, which discharge the wort into the converter, and this latter, upon opening a large sluice cock, discharges itself into the copper, in the centre of which stands a fountain. This enables the wort to be boiled at the greatest possible rate, without the risk of boiling over — in fact, the copper can filled within two inches from the top, the wort rushing up the tube with the greatest rapidity, and distributing itself in the shape of a parachute, without causing any disturbance at the edge of the copper.

Descending the next flight of steps, we came to the engine-room containing the engine, lagged in mahogany and brass bound, and working so smoothly that the sound can scarcely be heard. Here are three sets of three-throw pumps — the first set is for pumping the water from a boring either separately or simultaneously, the next exclusively for pumping from the new boring (of which shall have to speak later on) and forces the water into the two hot liquor tanks mentioned above; the remaining set of pumps is for throwing the wort to the cooler at the top of the building. We may here mention that the machinery is kept in most perfect order, in fact all the brass work, tinned and copper work, are kept as bright as it is possible to make them. Passing the copper furnace, we come to the room containing the large round wort back, fitted with false bottom and sparger. The wort in the copper being sufficiently boiled, a large sluice cock is opened, and the contents fall into this back, and are then ready to be pumped into the cooler, which is placed at the top of the main body of the building, and when filled looks like a small lake. The building on either side of the cooler is fitted with louvres to enable the steam to pour rapidly away. At the end of this room is also placed a large tank containing water for all other purposes than brewing. Passing down a flight stairs, we come upon a platform, on which stands the refrigerator, a powerful machine, over which fell the wort like a cascade, nearly boiling first, but cooled to any required degree. It is then conveyed by a large pipe to the fermenting tuns. These are placed in a long room, to which we come by passing down a short flight of steps. These tuns are arranged on the side of the room, and all fitted with removable attemperators, and are of great size, the beers in them being in various states of fermentation. It is a fine lofty room, and we noticed that the bottom the cooler formed the ceiling for a great part of its length. It is stained and varnished, and the whole supported on large iron girders painted a pale blue. The hooping of the tuns is also of the same colour, and this has a very pleasing effect. From these rooms the beer, when it has arrived at a proper state of fermentation, is let down into cleansing squares in rooms immediately below, and then commences the skimming off the barm so long it rises. After this the beer remains undisturbed until it falls bright. These squares are fitted with removable attemperators to control the heat of the beers, which, when bright, are racked off into Casks, and taken in the stores until sent to the customers. From these rooms we were taken to the cask cleansing shed. Every cask, we were informed, is unheaded, and undergoes a thorough cleansing, no matter how short a time it may have been used. Above this a large hot liquor tank to supply hot liquor for all cleansing purposes. At the back of this building is the boiler-house. We were told that the firm are about to  place another boiler of forty horse-power, to enable them to carry on their increasing business. Passing the cooperage shop and harness-house we come to the stables. They are lofty and well ventilated. A row of windows runs all the length of the building, and opening from the top admits the air, and over the head of every horse is also a ventilator. The flooring is set in cement, so that it is absolutely sweet and the drainage perfect. The stalls, loose boxes, mangers, and racks are by the St. Pancras Ironwork Company, and the whole is painted and varnished. Above is a large room, nicely decorated, and used as a dining hall at fair and other times. We next visited the hops room, filled with very choice bops, and then passed on to the ale and beer stores, where we were shown the various samples of ales and stout. Of the latter, an Imperial Invalid Stout, we were told that since its introduction, in consequence of its fine flavour and rich quality, the sale of it had within the last two years increased quite five times the quantity formerly sold. The mild beer was brilliant, full golden-brown colour, and full palate. The bitter ales were fine and sparkling like champagne. The County Ale, A.K., one shilling a gallon ale, is a beautiful light luncheon ale, brewed from the finest pale malt with fine East Kent, Worcester, and Farnham hops. The East India Pale Ale brewed also from the finest pale malt with the choicest pickings of East Kent and Worcester hops. Specimens of these hops were produced. They were of a beautiful golden colour and smooth as silk. We were informed that a member one of the largest firms in London lately paid a visit to the Brewery, and being shown the samples of beers, pronounced them all round to be the finest he had seen at any single brewery. Lastly, we were now taken to the where the last boring had been made, and from which Messrs. Goodwin are exclusively brewing their ales, and they believe there is no other water to surpass it in the county. In their office is a section or diagram of the boring, and also specimens of the strata through which the boring was made, together with Mr. Lawrence Briant's analysis of the water, than which there can be none more admirably adapted to the production of the finest beers, like those which the firm succeed in brewing.

Such in brief is outline of a brewery, which is supplying from year to year increasing numbers with their favourite beverage, and doing its part toward extending the popularity of Newark ales. We believe that it is the intention of the proprietors to follow the example set by many other firms, and to register themselves as a Limited Company, in which event we may expect to see further details, if the public are invited to participate in the further development of the enterprise."
Grantham Journal - Saturday 31 January 1891, page 2.
I hadn't particularly realised than Newark was first well-known for malt and then only later beer. Newark is in a great location for a brewery. You've got the gypsum bed of the Trent for Burton-type water, the maltsters, barley-producing farms around it and great transport connections with the Trent, the Fosse, the Great North Road, the Midland Railway and the mainline from London to Edinburgh. It would have been weird if there hadn't been a brewing industry.

The list of maltsters caught my eye, too. Because I genuinely recognise a couple of the names. Hole went on to own one of the breweries and Gilstrap, well, the library in Newark was named after him. And I've seen his malt in many a brewing record.

12,000 barrels, even in the 1890's, wasn't a huge amount of beer. By that time really big breweries - like Bass or Guinness - were producing over a million barrels annually. I remember the buildings and they weren't huge. Pretty small compared to those of Hole and Warwick.

It's nice to have something about the beers. Especially the AK. Newark-brewed AK is one of the things that got me started on this whole beer history trip. And a beer I drank in my youth. But not the Goodwins version. AK was the flagship Bitter of Hole's, later Courage. Never seen it called County Ale before. The beer described here, at a shilling a gallon, would have been 1045-1050º. Very light for a Pale Ale of the day.

Brewery Place year beer price per barrel (shillings) price (per gallon)
Goodwin Bros. Newark 1885 Light Mild Ale 36 1s
Goodwin Bros. Newark 1885 X Mild Ale 36 1s
Goodwin Bros. Newark 1885 XX Mild Ale 42 1s 2d
Goodwin Bros. Newark 1885 XXX Mild Ale 48 1s 4d
Goodwin Bros. Newark 1885 XXXX Strong Ale 54 1s 6d
Goodwin Bros. Newark 1885 XXXXX Strong Ale 60 1s 8d
Goodwin Bros. Newark 1885 Extra Strong 72 2s
Goodwin Bros. Newark 1885 AK Bitter Ale 36 1s
Goodwin Bros. Newark 1885 PA Bitter Ale 42 1s 2d
Goodwin Bros. Newark 1885 IPA Bitter Ale 54 1s 6d
Goodwin Bros. Newark 1885 Double Stout 48 1s 4d
Goodwin Bros. Newark 1885 Extra Stout 54 1s 6d

Imperial Invalid Stout sounds like a beer brewed for Queen Victoria in her dotage. Or returning wounded soldiers.

What colour do you think golden-brown is? Is it more golden or more brown? That could encompass anything from the colour of modern Bitter to that of Dark Mild. I wouldn't like to guess.

1 comment:

marquis said...

I well remember seeing the Branston's sign on the way through Newark on the Lincoln road.As a young lad I thought Branston's manufactured pickles!
Last time I went into the skittle alley in the Royal Oak in Car Colston there were signs and regalia relating to its Holes and Warwicks days.