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Bishop's Castle brewery cheers £1m in sales

South Shropshire | News | Published:

England's oldest brewery is on course to smash through the £1million sales barrier for the first time in its history, bosses have said.

Toast – Businessman John Russell raises a glass at the Three Tuns brewery in Bishop’s Castle

Ten years after The Three Tuns at Bishop's Castle was rescued from closure by two real ale lovers, the brewery is now aiming its growth plans at the wider West Midlands region.

John Russell, who was one of the two beer enthusiasts involved in the rescue, said: "We're now up to 100 brewer's barrels per week and have set our sights on increasing the number of pubs we supply.

"The Black Country is a big growth area for us and you can already find Three Tuns beers in the The Barley Mow at Penn Common and The Crown at Pattingham."

The Three Tuns Brewery was lying empty and its home under threat of conversion into housing when John and his business partner Bill Bainbridge stepped into save the business in 2003. Now it is set to achieve sales of £1million.

The brewery has seen the growing popularity of real ale create additional demand for its unique range of beers taken from a secret recipe book, including XXX, 1642 Bitter and Cleric's Cure.

More than 500 pubs are now stocking the company's cask conditioned ales, with the next stage of its expansion focusing on building its presence within the Black Country and Staffordshire.

"Three Tuns is one of England's best kept secrets," said Mr Russell, "so we knew we had to step in to save it and all those years of history. It is the oldest brewery in the country after it was granted a license by King Charles I in 1642. We set ourselves the task of modernising the original brewhouse, increasing our distribution network and recreating the treasured recipes found in The Three Tuns recipe books, handed down by previous custodians of the brewery.

"It's taken us over a decade to get to where we want to be, but the good news is we are now one of the most respected craft breweries in the world," said Mr Bainbridge.

The duo have invested nearly £900,000 into creating a state-of-the-art brewing system, and all within the confines of the existing building.

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