Bridport & West Dorset News, Views, Videos & Curiosities

One man; 63 breweries

Brian Wood sat on the back of his DAF 1900 truck with sacks of malt at Palmers Brewery in Bridport, Dorset.

Brian Wood at Palmers Brewery in Bridport. His lorry has done more than 1.5 million miles. Above Brian's head is the trapdoor that leads though into Palmers' malt loft.

THIRTY years ago one of the unsung heroes of British brewing began criss-crossing the country with sacks of malt.

Brian Wood started carrying malt for Hugh Baird and Sons at Station Maltings in Witham in Essex in the Autumn of 1981. When Baird’s got taken over in the mid-1990s, he set up on his own.

I’ve met him a couple of times at Palmers Brewery in Bridport, where he’s been delivering malt since the early 1980s.

He’s a fine man, as I hope comes through in the video that I made about him for the Palmers Brewery YouTube channel.

Here, also, is a link to a story written about Brian Wood and Palmers.

What that story doesn’t contain is a list of all the UK breweries that Brian has been to.

It’s an evocative litany, so here it is. Fifty-nine different brewers, 63 separate breweries, some of them now shut for many years. Morrells’ Lion Brewery, for example, was converted into ‘luxury apartments’. Julia Hanson’s in Dudley was knocked down to make way for a Netto supermarket, turned this summer into an Asda.

  • Whitbread (Sheffield, Cheltenham, Salford)
  • Boddingtons (Manchester)
  • Joseph Holt (Manchester)
  • JW Lees (Manchester)
  • Timothy Taylor (Keighley)
  • Samuel Smith (Tadcaster)
  • Bass (Burton)
  • McMullens (Hertford)
  • Julia Hanson (Dudley)
  • Banks (Wolverhampton)
  • Hardy Hanson (Kimberley)
  • Brains (Cardiff)
  • Buckleys (Llanelli)
  • Felinfoel (Dyfed)
  • Wadworth (Devizes)
  • Hall & Woodhouse (Blandford)
  • Palmers Brewery (Bridport)
  • Otter Brewery (Blackdown Hills)
  • Butcombe (Blagdon)
  • Smiles (Bristol)
  • Hook Norton (Oxon)
  • Morrells (Oxford)
  • Fullers (Chiswick )
  • Tring (Hertford)
  • Adnams (Southwold)
  • Tolly’s (Ipswich)
  • Harveys (Lewes)
  • Hepworths (Horsham)
  • King & Barnes (Horsham)
  • Hull Brewery
  • Batemans (Wainfleet)
  • Robinsons (Stockport))
  • Thwaites (Blackburn)
  • Jennings (Cockermouth)
  • Moorhouse (Burnley)
  • Higsons (Liverpool)
  • Burtonwood Brewery
  • Everards (Leicester and Burton on Trent)
  • Marstons (Burton on Trent)
  • Ind Coope (Burton on Trent)
  • Castlemaine (Wrexham)
  • Oldham Brewery
  • Hart Brewery (Preston)
  • Mitchells (Lancaster)
  • Vaux (Sunderland & Sheffield)
  • Federation (Newcastle)
  • Courage (Bristol & Reading)
  • Crouch Brewery (Essex)
  • Gales (Horndean)
  • Devenish (Redruth)
  • St Austell (Cornwall)
  • Halls (Oxford)
  • Tisbury Brewery (Wiltshire)
  • Ringwood Brewery (Hampshire)
  • Shepherd Neame (Faversham)
  • Trough Brewery (Idle)
  • Brakspears (Henley on Thames)
  • Pilgrim (Reigate)
  • Mendip Brewery (Somerset)

Imagine going to the Trough Brewery at Idle for the first time! And seeing this, when you got there.

Nowadays Brian delivers mostly to Palmers in Dorset, Arkell’s in Swindon, Felinfoel near Llanelli, Harveys in Lewes, Elgood’s in Wisbech, Wadworth in Devizes and Fuller’s in Chiswick.

Good reason, I’d say, to favour those seven brewers.