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Thwaites: An integral part of Blackburn’s history
1:40pm Wednesday 25th June 2014 in News
THE proposed move of Thwaites from its central Blackburn site brings to an end centuries of brewing history in the town.
By 1875, it had the basis of its three flagship three breweries with Duttons founded in 1799 and Matthew Brown.
In 1807 Daniel Thwaites became a partner at the Eanam Brewery talking sole control in 1824, starting 190 years of family ownership.
The firm expanded in 1863 when it took over the Snig Brook Brewery and in 1897 the Yerburgh family married into the company.
Growing further in the early 1900s, it became famous across the North West for its warm brown bitter and two milds, the staple of its Blackburn trade for years. The dark creamy Best was often mistaken by the unwary for Guinness and the sharper ordinary was a favourite of traditional drinkers.
In 1925 the company started bottling beers including favourites ‘Big Ben’, ‘Danny Brown’ and the then the 150th anniversary strong ale ‘Old Dan’ Eanam became the Star Brewery in 1966 with £1.5 million expansion and the building of the distinctively visible Thwaites tower.
During the real ale revival of the 1970’s, the cask bitter and milds became firm Campaign for Real Ale favourites winning a UK-wide following.
In 1984 Thwaites took over Lancaster’s Yates and Jackson brewery and in 1985 the dray horses won the freedom of Blackburn.
By its 1986 £4million refurbishment, it had outlasted Duttons, closed by owners Whitbread in 1978 and Matthew Brown, controversially axed by Scottish and Newcastle in 1992.
Thwaites celebrated its 200th birthday in 2007 by developing fine craft ales such as ‘Lancaster Bomber’ and ‘Wainwright’.
In 2011 it announced plans to sell the Star Brewery in Penny Street which came closer to reality yesterday.
Ale drinkers will be hoping the Thwaites’ promise that beers from the new brewery will match the current ones is fulfilled, ensuring the taste of Blackburn, famous for 200 years, lingers on.
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