A brewery that was knocked out of action by the floods in Cumbria last year is back in operation – after three months in exile in Wolverhampton.
The Jennings brewery in Cockermouth was ruined when flood waters swept into its riverside brewery.
And its owners, Midlands pub and beer group Marston’s, had to move production to the Banks’s brewery in Wolverhampton city centre, to keep supplies of beer flowing while Cockermouth was offline.
Hundreds of thousands of pints of Jennings beer were brewed and sold from Wolverhampton, although head brewer Richard Frost said it would be impossible to exactly match the beers from the Cockermouth site. Jennings’ head brewer came down to Wolverhampton to oversee the making of the three ales – Cumberland Ale, Sneck Lifter and Cocker Hoop.
During the time its base was closed, Jennings donated more than £178,000 to the Cumbria Flood Recovery
The total was raised by the brewery donating 10p from every pint of its beers sold while the Cockermouth site was closed due to flood damage.
In four months, Jennings customers helped to raise a total of £178,497, which will now go towards helping Cumbrians affected by the floods rebuild their lives.
Brewery manager Gaynor Green said: “We were staggered by the amount raised by people up and down the country – it showed how much sympathy people had for those affected by the terrible floods last year.
“The floods touched all our lives, and we are incredibly proud to be able to donate so much money to help those affected by the floods back in November.”
Marston’s – then known as Wolverhampton and Dudley – acquired the Jennings brewery and pubs in 2005, adding it to a brewing portfolio that now includes Burtonwood, Wychwood and Marston’s itself.
More than 200 people had to be rescued when Cockermouth was hit by the floods in November 2009.
Meanwhile, Marston’s will become the new home for the historic Tetley's brand, after the owners of the Yorkshire beer announced plans to downsize the brewery in Leeds.
Marston’s will take over production of cask Tetley’s bitter, while production of smoothflow versions of the beer will be farmed out to the Tadcaster brewery owned by Molson Coors.
The closure of the Joshua Tetley Brewery in Leeds will mean the loss of some 170 jobs.
Tetley’s has been brewed in Yorkshire for nearly 200 years. The brewery in Leeds was founded by Joshua Tetley in 1822.
Carlsberg, which owns Tetley’s, said it had looked hard for breweries to take on production, but had not found any that could cope with the volume of cask ale inside Yorkshire. Production of Tetley’s will start at Wolverhampton in 2011.
But the move has been attacked as a betrayal of the beer’s historic Yorkshire roots.
John Grogan, the head of the parliamentary beer group and a Yorkshire MP, said Tetley’s leaving the county would have had local cricket legend Fred Trueman “turning in his grave”.
And Bob Stukins, the vice chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale, added: “It’s unbelievable to think that a long-standing global brewer would make this move at a time when the real ale industry is enjoying year-on-year growth, and CAMRA’s annual research is showing a steep increase in the number of consumers trying real ale for the first time.
“While it is comforting to know that Tetley’s iconic cask brand will continue to be brewed by an experienced party, it is difficult to comprehend how this latest move will be received positively by pub-goers when this historic brand is stripped of its provenance and tradition in 2011 and shipped over 100 miles away from its Yorkshire heartland,” he added.