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CAMRA Lunesdale

All change at Thwaites?

Meet-the-brewer event heralds new thinking for Blackburn firm

Lancaster’s Sir Richard Owen pub was the venue for a meet-the-brewer evening which provided not only beer but also food for thought concerning recent developments down Blackburn way. A new MD, new PR company, new seasonal ales and plans for a micro brewery indicate a bold change of direction for a company not exactly renowned for cutting edge innovation.

The evening, supported by members of Lunesdale CAMRA branch, heard presentations from Thwaites’ National Accounts Manager Angela Edney and Head Brewer Steve Fielding. Those attending enjoyed free tastings of Original, Wainwright, Bomber, and a delectable new mild, the 4% abv Highwayman. All the beers were on excellent form. The well-organised event included a power point slide show, an account of the brewing process, and an opportunity for rewarding discussion with Thwaites’ representatives.

The historic East Lancashire brewery, with 400 pubs in its estate, is 202 years old in June, and has recently had a new lease of life. Angela Edney said, “The last four years have witnessed a new commitment to cask ale brewing by Thwaites.” The successful re-branding of mild as Nutty Black and the launch this year of five new seasonal beers indicated the direction of travel.

Ms Edney acknowledged the role of the consumer in the changes currently under way. “Cask ale drinkers are adventurous — they want to experiment and try out different brews. There has been a definite change of emphasis at the firm, which reflects the new MD’s commitment to cask ales.”

Steve Fielding announced a decision to construct a micro-brewing facility at the main brewery in order to produce small runs of experimental brews.

Lunesdale CAMRA Press Officer, Julian Holt, said “Congratulations first and foremost to the Richard Owen team for putting on this valuable and enjoyable event. What we’ve heard tonight has been most encouraging. We thank Thwaites for their hospitality and wish them every success in developing their new cask conditioned ales.”

New seasonal ales include Summat Special (brewed for the recent Cask Ale Week), Well Well Well (June/July), Golden Wunder (September), The Ribbler (October) and Liberation (November).

The Thwaites festival continues at the Sir Richard Owen until the end of the week.