History of Burton-upon-Trent


The offi­cial his­to­ry of the coun­ty of Stafford[shire], avail­able through the excel­lent British His­to­ry Online, has lots of fas­ci­nat­ing infor­ma­tion on Bur­ton-upon-Trent and the his­to­ry of brew­ing. For exam­ple, this evoca­tive pas­sage on the birth of India Pale Ale:

Although the Baltic mar­ket was not com­plete­ly destroyed by the Napoleon­ic block­ade, it came to an end in the mid 1820s as the Baltic coun­tries acquired their own brew­eries and imposed high tar­iffs on Eng­lish imports. Bur­ton brew­ers, there­fore, had to devel­op oth­er mar­kets, espe­cial­ly in Lon­don and South Lan­cashire, and fur­ther afield in North Amer­i­ca and Aus­tralia: in 1822 the Wil­son-All­sopp brew­ery adver­tised for sale a quan­ti­ty of ‘rich pale and fine-flavoured Ale, of uncom­mon strength’ which it was unable to export to Rus­sia. Also in 1822 Samuel All­sop­p’s head brew­er suc­ceed­ed in repro­duc­ing a bit­ter, sparkling ale which Lon­don brew­ers had been for some time export­ing to India. The qual­i­ties of the local water made the pale ale brewed in Bur­ton espe­cial­ly suit­ed to longdis­tance trans­port, and oth­er local brew­ers fol­lowed suit, with the result that by 1832 the All­sopp and Bass brew­eries dom­i­nat­ed the exports to India. Bur­ton pale ale also became pop­u­lar in the home mar­ket.

Rich, pale and fine-flavoured, of uncom­mon strength… so, a kind of Eng­lish answer to a mai­bock?

5 thoughts on “History of Burton-upon-Trent”

  1. Please could you blog about the role of car­bon diox­ide in beer mak­ing. My opin­ion: no real beer should have car­bon diox­ide pumped into it. CO2 is not list­ed as an ingre­di­ent in the Rein­heits­ge­bot.

  2. I’m in a bad mood and all I’ve got to drink is freezin, fizzy, Aus­tralian beer.

  3. Also you should go and vis­it the Hop Exchange near Lon­don Bridge. It’s offices now but the build­ing is still quite impres­sive.

  4. Hi Char­lie, nice to hear from you. I’ve been con­sid­er­ing some­thing on the sub­ject of car­bon­a­tion so per­haps there will be some­thing short­ly…

    PS – Have you seen realbeer.co.nz (on our blogroll) – he blogs about Aus­tralian stuff as well as New Zealand

  5. Hel­lo, Char­lie. Good idea re: the hop exchange. We’ve got a post about good places to drink near Lon­don Bridge in the pipeline, so maybe we’ll include it as a sight­see­ing diver­sion in that.

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