Mansfield Brewery was a real success story for the town

Do you remember the Mansfield Brewery, writes Liz Weston, curator at Mansfield Museum.

The huge barrel stacks were a familiar sight to passers-by and were a reassuring sign of the firm’s prosperity.

Mansfield Brewery in 1987

Mansfield Brewery in 1987

Indeed, in 1984, the company opened a new Brewhouse, the biggest building project at the main site since the 1907 make-over by renowned architect Stovin Bradford.

The company was then able to meet the increasing demand from British supermarkets for its popular beers.

It also meant it could develop its overseas trade.

It bought out soft-drinks firms Hornby’s and RL Jones (later Mandora) and in 1985 it acquired Hull-based North Country Breweries, expanding its number of tied-pubs by some 200.

As with many other breweries, such pubs, with their strong connection to a single brewery, had always been a feature of the firm’s business model.

This practice dated back to the first quarter of the previous century, when the fledgling operation had survived by supplying the 20 or so local brew houses.

For more than a century, Mansfield Brewery retained or increased its share of the local, then regional and finally national market.

A decade later, the brewery was still a major employer in the town and the 1990s saw it doing good business in both Russia and America despite American brewers having previously been so wary of Mansfield’s local brew, they complained to the White House about the advertising copy suggesting then-President Regan might be tempted to start drinking Mansfield Bitter.

You can find out more about the brewery in the Old Mansfield Centenary Exhibition, on now at the museum on Leeming Street.

Entry is free.