Within a few miles of roaring motorways, yet remaining a traditional East Yorkshire market town, the name of Snaith has been on the map since the time of the Domesday Book and doubtless even longer.
Nestling on the banks of the River Aire, a tributary of the mighty Humber, Snaith is presided over by the impressive Norman Church of St. Lawrence and details of the town’s past are continually being discovered and researched.
Though the butter market has long since disappeared, the adjoining town lock-ups still remain and present a permanent reminder to the richness of the local history.
Part of Snaith’s heritage revolves around the art of brewing. Research by the Snaith Historical Society has revealed the existence of brewers and maltsters within the town up to the last century but although there were larger commercial breweries in neighbouring towns and villages earlier in the 20th Century, it wasn’t until 1983 that the craft at last returned to Snaith with the establishment of the Old Mill Brewery.
The building which now forms Old Mill Brewery was built in 1791.
Deed of covenants relating to lands at Snaith 19th October 1830
Parties: 1) Thomas Tate of Snaith, miller 2) John Curtis of Snaith, gentleman Property: erection and building formerly a maltkiln and then converted in part into a corn mill at Snaith with the steam engine, mill stones and other machinery therein and the boiler house adjoining. Piece of ground at Snaith containing 39 square yards with the pond therein and the coal and cinder yard at the south end on the north side of Lowgate with a piece of land measuring 47 yards by 8 yards with fruit trees thereon Consideration: £500 Witnesses: William Shearburn and John Gardiner.
Old Mill Brewery is launched.
Traditional Bitter ABV 3.9%. First created in 1983 and subsequently unaltered, Traditional Bitter is brewed using a mix of pale and crystal malts plus Fuggles hops, with Styrian hops added prior to the end of boiling. The result is a beautifully balanced drinking beer, distinctively aromatic and pale in appearance, prompting CAMRA’S Good Beer Guide to offer the promise "everything a good bitter should be".
Traditional Mild ABV 3.4%. Not a weaker, coloured pale ale like many so-called mild's these days, but in fact a distinctive smooth-tasting brew in its own right. Old Mill Traditional Mild employs a unique blend of pale, crystal and dark malts to successfully meet the demand in certain areas for a darker, more lightly-hopped drinking beer.
1983 - Purchased the Riveter, Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire.
1984 - Purchased our 'Brewery tap' the Brewer's Arms in Snaith, East Yorkshire.
1985 – Bullion Strong Bitter was created. A brew not to be trifled with, Bullion was introduced in 1985 to meet the demand for a full bodied, stronger beer and in only its first year was judged Best Bitter from a new brewery at the Great British Beer Festival, Brighton, Metropole.
Such early recognition for Bullion, which uses additional roasted malt in its production, has served to establish the beer as one of the classic of its type, either on draught or in a bottle.
1985 – Bullion – Best Bitter from a new brewery at the Great British Beer Festival, Brighton, Metropole. Runner up beer-of-the-year.
1985 – Purchased the Rutland Arms, Grimsby
August 1987 – Bullion – runner up to the Champion new brewery beer of Britain at the Great British Beer Festival, Brighton.
1987 – Purchased the Falcon, Mexborough, South Yorkshire.
1988 – Purchased the Red Lion, Chesterfield, Derbyshire.
1989 – Purchased the Marsh Hotel, Cleckheaton, West Yorkshire.
Traditional Bitter, CAMRA good beer guide beer of the year, one of the best British beers.
1991 – Purchased the Albion Vaults, Selby, North Yorkshire.
1993 – Newsletter…
TENTH ANNIVERSARY AND GOING FROM STRENGTH TO STRENGTH
Ten years ago it was our dream to set up a quality brewery that would produce the finest traditional beers to rival the best in the land, to buy our own pubs and to fit them out to the highest standard in order to sell the fine beers of ours. Along the way we wanted to employ people who would share our passion for technical excellence and consistency and to put Snaith well and truly on the brewing map of Great Britain. Well our dream came true and we are indeed ‘Going from Strength to Strength’. Old Mill traditional beers have been recognised in all quarters. We are delighted to have received top awards and recognition from influential bodies. We are proud that as well as having 10 Old Mill pubs, we now have 150 free trade accounts and wholesalers who clearly believe in our product but most of all, as we reflect on the last 10 years, we are delighted that our top quality traditional beer has been drunk and enjoyed by so many people.
Success never comes easy but the standards we set ourselves and our refusal to cut corners or skimp on equipment and most of all the raw material we use, paved the way for us. The next 10 years? Well. We have recently increased brewing capacity to cope with our ever increasing demand and our dreams like our products will be consistent – to carry on giving the customer the finest traditional beers.
The Old Mill Brewery combines modern plant and best traditional methods with a commitment of service to you the customer, all resulting in the production of fine and consistent beers. The brewery was established in 1983 by Paul Wetherell in conjunction with Bryan Wilson who had enjoyed a successful career with Websters and Wilsons as Production and Distribution Director. Bryan as Managing Director at Old Mill now has Richard Eyton-Jones supporting him in the brewing team. Both are brewing graduates and of course totally committed to their profession.
10 years ago, an old mill dating back to 1791 was transformed into a clean, modern brewery. The plant was designed by Bryan and all vessels and associated pumps and pipework have been specially fabricated from stainless steel. Only top quality malt and hops are used in the brewing process.
The list of four beers and our Old Mill Original Porter now making five, completed a fine range of traditionally brewed beers. Our Golden Pilsner Lager, Alt Muhle will also feature in our Anniversary Celebrations with a complete re-formulation including an added brewing process and a new title ‘KLASSIC’ – much better for us locals to order!
OLD MILL ESTATE
The Old Mill company estate has steadily grown over the years to its current listing of 10 public houses. It is our policy to continue expanding when appropriate pubs become available. Furnishings are of the highest quality to our corporate standard. A typical example of these high standards can be found just around the corner from the Old Mill Brewery at the Brewers Arms, the flagship of the company, also known for its award winning cuisine, as well as its 37 foot deep well alongside the bar.
1993 – Original Porter ABV 5.0% (later re-named to Yorkshire Porter and reduced to ABV 4.4%). Our newest beer, first produced in 1993 yet already established as a highlight of the drinking calendar. Original Porter is only available during the winter months but has a strong following for its ‘warming’ qualities. A strong dark ale with ruby tints, this smooth full-bodied beer is brewed using dark and chocolate malts to provide the fortunate taste buds with roast malt and fruit flavours, continuing to a hoppy finish.
BRING ON THE PORTER
March 1994 – Yorkshire Porter – West Riding Refreshment Rooms beer of the month.
What better way to celebrate our 10 years of success than to “Bring on the Porter”. Old Mill Original Porter 5.0% ABV will add further strength to our range for discerning customers of traditional ale. You can’t get more traditional then a Porter, the ale drinkers of Merrie England in the 18th Century would drink to that! We chose a porter as our celebration to again give our support to a truly traditional product. Porters have so many advantages, they actually mature with age and can be kept for several months. They are robust in that they are easier to keep to the highest standards and yet another added advantage is that they also make an excellent winter drink. We hope you will enjoy Old Mill’s very own.
1994 – Purchased the Kirklands Hotel, Outwood, Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
1995 – Purchased the Mission, Hull, East Yorkshire.
1996 – Purchased the Nellie Dene’s AKA Bridge Inn, Rotherham, South Yorkshire.
1996 – Introduction of Handicasks – Making light of a heavy job
Rolling out the barrel at a Selby area brewery is no big deal. Lightweight casks are set to revolutionise the licensed delivery trade.
Snaith-based Old Mill Brewery pioneered the non-returnable Handicask to guarantee supply within three days to any landlord nationwide.
Back-breaking barrels, worth more than the ale inside and hard to recover from widespread pubs, have been replaced by lightweight models.
The plastic prototype means the word of the independent brewery’s beers can spread far and wide from the 200-year old former corn mill and clog factory.
The Handicask weighs less than 2kg and landlords are united in their views on the ease of cellar organisation.
When empty the casks can either be returned for recycling or kept for a wide variety of uses.
The non-returnable Handicask also eliminates the problem of theft, which has become a major bottom-line headache for the whole brewing industry since the advent of the steel keg.
1998 – Purchased the Victoria Hotel, York, North Yorkshire.
1998 – Pathfinders Return – 2nd place Wakefield CAMRA 8th Beer Festival.
1999 – Purchased the Station Inn, Hull, East Yorkshire.
2000 – Purchased the Lord Nelson, Brigg, Lincolnshire.
2001 – Bridlington Festival Ale – Beer of the festival at Bridlington Beer Festival.
2003 – Purchased the Bay Horse, Great Heck, North Yorkshire.
2003 – Purchased the Punchbowl Inn, Thorne, South Yorkshire.
2004 – Purchased the Wellington Hotel, Howden, East Yorkshire.
2005 – Traditional Mild – 3rd Place, Dark and light category, Rotherham Oakwood real ale & music festival.
2005 – Purchased the Dove Inn, Barnsley, South Yorkshire.
2006 – Purchased the Ferns Farm Hotel, Carnaby, East Yorkshire.
2006 – Purchased the Palm’s Leisure Club, Carnaby, East Yorkshire.
2007 - 1st place in the beermat of the year, set mat competition.
2009 – Becomes SIBA full brewing member
2010 – The Marsh Hotel, Cleckheaton, wins CAMRA Heavy Woollen Pub of the Season.
2010 – Dove Inn, Barnsley, CAMRA Barnsley District Summer Pub of the Season
One of Old Mill Brewery’s 19 houses and an outlet for a rarely seen beer in Barnsley, The Dove has become the adopted pub for Barnsley Football Fans, especially those who like their real ales. Serving Old Mill Bitter and their regularly changing seasonal beer, the current owners have created a light and airy pub from the previously smoky John Smith’s house. Wood panelled within and flower basket-laden walls outside provide a very welcoming atmosphere together with a spacious beer garden and an upstairs veranda giving great views over Oakwell and the Dearne Valley Country Park.
Hats off to Sharon, Phil and the team who keep the beer in great form and are well deserved of this award which The Dove last won in autumn 2007.
2010 – Brewer’s Arms, Snaith, CAMRA Doncaster District Pub of the Season, summer.
Originally a large town house dating back to the 18th Century, the impressive Brewers Arms at Snaith is both the brewery tap and flagship pub of the Old Mill estate. The very pleasant interior is of split-level design with four distinct drinking areas plus a function room leading off to the left. One feature not to be missed is the 28 foot deep well complete with skeleton right in the middle of the pub! Rumour has it that this is a city slicker who couldn’t take the combination of fresh country air and good Old Mill beer! In reality the skeleton is fake (of course) but it looks real enough – seeing is believing.
The recipients of the award – Chris & Chrissie Smith took over at the Brewers Arms two years ago and such is the quality of their real ales, have transformed beer sales at the pub. Food has long been an attraction here but Chris tells me that ‘wet’ sales are now on a par. The beer range was initially Old Mill Bitter, Bullion and a seasonal special from Old Mill. Currently there are four real ales available – the above range plus Old Mill Blonde Bombshell (which apparently “flies out”) and a fifth hand pump which offers Weston’s Old Rosie for fans of real cider. There is a strong possibility that a further beer will come on stream in the near future. I should also mention that Chris just so happened to do his chef training at Claridge’s under the tutelage of Gordon Ramsay. It is said that he always keeps a swear box and a set of ear plugs handy just in case Gordon should happen to drop in!
The Brewers Arms is in fact, a hotel with ten guest rooms. There are also a further four rooms adjacent to Old Mill Brewery, a short distance from The Brewers. Over at the brewery, new head brewer Kevin Mutch and sales executive Kelly Fallon and the rest of the team are currently working flat out as orders of their beer continue to hit new heights.
As a fairly regular visitor to Snaith and the ‘Brewers’ in particular, I have never known the beer to be as good. This is all down to Chris who takes keen interest in real ales and keeps the cellar immaculately clean.
The Cusworth Kid.
2010 – Victoria Hotel, York, Ouse Boozer Autumn Pub of the Season,
A good crowd of CAMRA members, locals, family and friends gathered at the Victoria Hotel on Heslington Road on a warm June night for the presentation of York City Summer Pub of the Season award.
The Victoria has been chosen because it’s an excellent example of a community pub, where a wide mix of customers get along well and create a good atmosphere. It was radically overhauled and refurbished when bought by Old Mill Brewery. There are four Old Mill beers to choose from, although Ian hopes to add a fifth pump soon. Bitter and Bullion are permanent, Mild is on much of the time (interestingly going down well with the student clientele) and there’s a beer from the brewery’s seasonal range. Ian confessed he was surprised to win as he is tied to the brewery and can’t offer an endless and ever-changing choice like some of their rivals. While he and Adele were in the spotlight, he made a point of thanking the whole team that contributes the pub’s success – their family, past and present members of staff, brewer Kevin Mutch and drayman Glyn.
2010 - Blonde Bombshell turns beery heads! – Selby Times.
Blonde Bombshell is Old Mill Brewery’s latest hot totty – and nobody does it better than The Brewer’s Arms pub-cum-hotel in Snaith. Made from lager hops, the beer is the brainchild of head brewer Kevin Mutch and is selling like hot cakes. Which may explain why hosts Chrissie and Chris Smith have been awarded a top CAMRA award. The Campaign for Real Ale has named the go-getting establishment the District Pub of the Season 2010. And by winning the accolade it has beaten a number of others locally that are themselves well known for their standards of excellence.
Chris said “It’s been a bit of a struggle since we took over two years ago. The pub was a bit down in the mouth, so we really had to make the extra effort. But thanks to some really great beers, attention to detail and loyal regulars, we’ve managed to pull things around.”
So much so that The Brewer’s is now included in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide, and Chris and Chrissie are looking forward to winning a few more awards. Meanwhile they are concentrating on further burnishing the reputation of the 14-room hotel.
2010 - Launch of LocAle at Old Mill Brewery
On the evening of 1st July 2010 Doncaster & District CAMRA launched the LocAle initiative at the Old Mill Brewery in Snaith – and what a superb event it was!
But what is LocAle you may well ask? Well it is an environmentally friendly scheme, which was the brainchild of members of the Nottingham branch of CAMRA and is now being embraced by CAMRA branches throughout the country. The idea is to persuade publicans to stock at least one cask ale from a local brewery no further than 20 to 30 miles away. Doncaster branch has settled on 25 miles.
You may still wonder what it’s all about and what the advantages are. Well one of the aims is to cut down on ‘beer miles’. It is obviously good for the environment for a beer to travel a short distance than to be trucked from one end of the country to the other. Also, how fresh is the product by the customer gets to sample it?
On the evening of the launch many representatives of local breweries attended including our very own Kevin Mutch , Geoff Brown (Glentworth of Skellow), Phil Usher (Bird Brain of Howden), David Bailey, Michael Blout and Marc Jones (all of Doncaster’s newest brewery, Toad) and we were also graced by the presence of John Barrett the Mayor of Snaith!
Free samples of Old Mill brews were enjoyed and later at the Brewer’s Arms an excellent buffet of pork sandwiches.
So all you CAMRA members out there (none CAMRA members please sign up ASAP to enjoy great benefits) please try to persuade pubs you visit to join this worthwhile scheme. That way you’ll get to sample local beers on a regular basis.
2010 – Redesign of pump clip branding, creating a market leading ‘range’ of eye catching pump clips which include ABV, colour of the ale and tasting notes.
2011 – Fall Over – Joint winner Best Bitter, York Beer and Cider Festival.
2011 – Bullion - Joint winner Best Bitter, York Beer and Cider Festival. And won Silver in the overall LocAle of the Festivale competition.
2011 – Blonde Bombshell – 1st place, Golden beers category, York Beer and Cider Festival.
2011 – Blonde Bombshell – 3rd place, Bitter category in the beer of the festival competition, Macclesfield Beer Festival.
2012 – Marsh Hotel – Spenborough Guardian, Pub of the Year.
2013 – Yorkshire Porter – 3rd place, Porter category, Rotherham CAMRA real ale & music festival.
2013 – The Bridge Inn – Rotherham CAMRA Town Pub of the Year
2013 - 30years Brewing Award-Winning Yorkshire Ales!
To celebrate its 30th Anniversary, The Old Mill Brewery in Snaith is holding a fun-filled open day on Saturday 20th July 2013.
To kick-off the celebrations, the brewery will be opening its’ doors to the people of Snaith and the surrounding area. From 12pm on Saturday 20th July there will be free, rolling tours of the brewery, a raffle and lots of give-aways. South Milford Brass Band will be providing some musical accompaniment and there will be samples of The Old Mill’s real ales available to try, including their brand new seasonal golden bitter “Three Rivers” ABV 3.9%.
The proceeds of the raffle will go towards the Snaith Mayor's charities and each of the brewery's 19 pubs are adopting the same charitable spirit by holding their own individual raffles.
The most local pub in the group, The Brewer's Arms on Pontefract Road in Snaith, will be serving food all day and for younger ones there’ll be a bouncy castle and a rodeo bull. A children's disco will take place at the pub from 4pm-7pm before the evening disco starts at 8pm – late!
Snaith’s ‘old penny lock-ups’ will also be open to the public on this festive day. A Grade II listed building, these were once used as a very short-stay prison for the drunks, vagrants and beggars who came into Snaith on market and fair days; and get their name from the fact that the occupants had to pay a penny to be let out!
The Old Mill Brewery is itself housed in a 200-year-old former malt kiln, which has also seen life as a corn mill and a clog factory. It is situated right in the centre of this picturesque East Yorkshire market town. The building was given a new lease of life in 1983, when former Webster’s brewer Bryan Wilson and Chairman Paul Wetherell joined forces to establish the now famous, award-winning Old Mill Brewery.
However, as traditional as the brewery’s old building might be, there is nothing old fashioned about the brewing plant which is equipped with the latest high-spec modern machinery.
Dedication, enthusiasm and pride are the key words at Old Mill. All staff are dedicated to producing a range of quality ‘real ales’, not only for the local market but for a national audience via an extensive free trade and wholesale network. They are also dedicated to the continued quality of all 7 permanent beers and the 12 seasonal ones produced as well as to the excellent service which all their customers can expect.
The brewery is also celebrating 30 years in the brewing business by inviting everyone to take part in a 'Name a Beer for Next Year' competition.
Anyone can enter to decide the name of a beer, dedicated to a loved one or just weird and wacky! The ABV, colour and tasting notes and the winning beer will then appear in the 2014 range of seasonal specials.
Kelly Wood at The Old Mill Brewery, said; "Success never comes easy but the standards we set ourselves and our refusal to cut corners or skimp on equipment and perhaps most of all the raw materials we use, paved the way for us. Cheers to 30 years everyone – here’s to many more to come!"
2014 – Old Curiosity – 1st place, Best Bitter category, Doncaster CAMRA real ale festival.
OLD CURIOSITY WINS BEST BITTER AWARD AT DONCASTER CAMRA BEER FESTIVAL
We had the pleasure of Doncaster CAMRA branch members company here recently to present the award for Old Curiosity winning Best Bitter at Doncaster Beer Festival earlier in the year. They all enjoyed the Brewery Tour, presentation and sampling of our ales (including the award winner) then onto our Brewery Tap the Brewer's Arms for hot pork sandwiches and chips. An enjoyable night even if we do say so ourselves!?