Looking at the craft beer landscape, and that of the UK’s history of beer, I am but a mere whelp surrounded by a broad and rich history on which to delect. This month sees me celebrate my 30th birthday, and I wanted to mark the occasion. However, my ambition may have outweighed the reality of attempting to collaborate with Yorkshire’s finest breweries who have made this industry what it is today, over the course of the last 30 years. What started as a simple idea and a, “How hard can it be?” moment, turned into a rabbit hole that I suddenly found myself tumbling down. I mean, how much history can one county have in beer? Quite a lot, it turns out.
Whilst both London and Burton have the heritage and history of beer and its dominance across the British Empire, Yorkshire has its own torch to bear with a myriad of breweries born in God’s County. Some of which, are amongst the longest standing in the country. Two things stood out in my early preliminary research; firstly how many breweries Yorkshire has produced and, secondly, how many are no longer with us. According to Quaffale, around 390 breweries have been founded in Yorkshire, with 199 being active and 190 sadly wound down. That’s a lot, on both accounts.
So, first things first, how do you write an article about Yorkshire’s history in craft beer and be concise yet informative at the same time whilst offering a varied picture of the landscape? Simple; see who replies to your initial enquiry of being included and go from there! Of course, it would be remiss to offer some level of understanding here that all breweries will be incredibly busy at the moment, especially after the last 12-18 months we’ve had. Let’s be honest, I’m probably not the only one asking them to be featured in an article or podcast either…
But, here we are and thankfully I was met with many positive responses and breweries offering their co-operation and happy to be included in my ambitious project to celebrate my 30th birthday. Hard work it may have been but in comparison to what these breweries do on a day-to-day basis, it pales into insignificance. Moreover, their safety and security after a turbulent year or so is both reassuring and heart-warming, so if one person reads this and learns something new or discovers a new brewery, then I will count that as a success.
Whilst it would be easy to stick to the household names and big players out there, that would be doing a disservice to the smaller (and equally as important) brewers out there getting things done. Thankfully, I think I’ve managed to represent a nice spread of big brewers, small brewers, craft brewers and real ale brewers along the way. By no means is this a definitive collection, a mere drop in the ocean, but given we have new breweries springing up each year, I think a definitive collection would be an almost impossible challenge.
I’ve tried to mix things up a little bit with written articles, podcasts, tastings and interviews so hopefully you’ll find something new and interesting along the way. But, before we begin on the journey, huge thanks to all breweries who have participated and given up their time and thanks to you. Each read, watch and listen of my content makes my journey through beer that bit more enjoyable. So grab a beer and hopefully you’ll enjoy this project as much as I have creating it.