Thursday, 20 August 2009

Something Brewing in Stone

Having eventually secured a mooring spot on the very outskirts of Stone we walked back into the town for a meal and a few beers.
Throughout its history, Stone has been a market town, a centre for the coaching trade and, most famously, a brewing town. Best-known of the town's many breweries was probably Joules, established in 1780 and brewing continuously in the town for 194 years until it was closed by Bass Charrington, who had taken over the company in 1970.
Before its take-over and closure the company had developed a sizeable business throughout the north midlands and I well remember its distinctive green and gold signboards decorating many a roadside public house on journeys through the area at that time, even though I was too young to actually sample the product.

The brewery was canalside with an impressive frontage (or, really a "backage!) alongside the Trent & Mersey Canal and an even more imposing front overlooking one of the town's main streets.

After the brewery closed a replica version of the beer was brewed by Bass in Burton on Trent for a few years, but it wasn't the same and it soon vanished as the tide of national brews that was a feature of the 1970s swept through the land.
But, just as there are enthusiasts for old boats and carrying companies there are enthusiasts for old beers and breweries and it looks as though Joules Brewery will rise again - although this time on the Shropshire Union! A new "Joules Brewery" company plans to build a brewery in Market Drayton and recreate the former glories of its namesake. It already has some pubs - in canalside towns and villages such as Leek and Cheswardine and, if you fancy the job is advertising for tenants!
So far, there don't appear to be any plans for a pub in Stone itself, but in the meantime I can heartily recommend the excellent Royal Exchange in Radford Street a tied house of the equally excellent Titanic Brewery.

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