Our History

Adnams has a long and colourful history. We're proud of our Southwold roots, which help give us the strength and confidence to grow and evolve, keeping us fresh and innovative. There's many a tale to tell over a pint, but here are just a few...

Proud AND Inspired By our heritage

Beer has been brewed on the same site in Southwold for at least 670 years. Our long history gives us firm foundations and we look forward to an exciting and sustainable future.

Explore Our timeline

1345

The earliest record of beer being brewed here, is from 1345. "Ale wife" Johanna de Corby and 17 others were charged by the manorial court for serving illegal measures. There's none of that business today.

1672

Southwold was the headquarters for the English fleet under the command of the Duke of York and witnessed the aftermath of the huge battle of Sole Bay. The battle has gone on to inspire local pub names and one of our most-loved brews, Broadside.

1818

The Swan Hotel was bought by Thomas Bokenham, who enhanced the building and built a grand house next door (now Southwold's Town Hall.) To pay the bills, he sold off the brewhouse at the back of The Swan to local maltster, William Crisp, for £350.

1872

George and Ernest Adnams purchased the Sole Bay Brewery from William Crisp. Two years later, the partnership was formally dissolved. In later life, George joined a volunteer cavalry regiment. He ended up in South Africa, where he was reportedly eaten by a crocodile.

1880

Tally Ho was first brewed in this year and is still brewed today. We are in the enviable position of having access to a wealth of historic recipes.

1890

Adnams and Co. was estabished and has remained independently run ever since. Our brewery stands on the same corner in Southwold. We can do things our own way, in our own style. Although we've ditched the top hats.

1902

Jack and Pierse Loftus acquired a stake in the brewery.

1943

Our brewer PC Loftus had previously worked at Morgan’s and liked working with their yeast. It was collected weekly from their brewery in Norwich. When Morgan's brewery was destroyed in an air raid, we had to become self-sufficient and used the yeast we had left in production to start cultivating our famous dual strain for ourselves.

1953

Adnams won a raft of prestigious brewing awards, including the Star of Excellence.

1987

The first Adnams store opened at the back of The Crown Hotel, combining top-quality kitchenware with a full range of wines. We now have over 10 stores around East Anglia, and enthusiastic teams spreading the word far and wide.

1990

To celebrate our centenary as a public company, Adnams established a charitable trust, donating a percentage of profits to groups and organisations within a 25-mile radius of Southwold. We're proud to play our part in their important work.

2005

Adnams was awarded the presitigious Queen's Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development for the first time. We are proud to have received this award a further two times since 2005.

2006

Simon Loftus retired as Chairman and Jonathan Adnams stepped into the role.

2006

The Adnams Eco Distribution Centre opened, featuring a living, green roof, lime and hemp walls and a rainwater harvesting facility.

2008

We brewed the UK's first carbon-neutral beer, East Green.

2010

The Copper House Distillery opened. We were the first brewery in the UK legally allowed to install a distillery. Within months of opening, our spirits began winning awards at international competitons.

2013

Copper House Dry Gin was named the World's Best Gin at the International Wine and Spirits Competition.

2014

Longshore Vodka was declared the 'World's Best' after winning the Vodka Trophy at the International Wine and Spirits Competiton.

2017

After six months of refurbisment, our flagship hotel The Swan, Southwold, re-opened with a fresh new look.

2018

We installed a brand new de-alcoholisation plant into our brewery to create a new low-alcohol brew, Ghost Ship 0.5%. Ghost Ship 0.5% soon became a best-seller and we have gone on to expand our plant to keep up with demand. It's no apparition, it really is low-alcohol beer.

2019

We launched our first cider, Wild Wave, made using a delicious combination of English bittersweet and dessert apples. It is now available in a low-alcohol version, expanding the options for cider fans.

2020

Our best-selling brew turned 10! We celebrated 10 years of Ghost Ship by partnering with four craft breweries over 2020 to create a wicked collection of tasty new beers.

2021

As previous Head Brewer, Fergus Fitzgerald, moved to focus on developing our products and production processes, it was time to name a new Head Brewer and our obvious choice was the wonderful Dan Gooderham. Dan has worked hard overseeing all of our brews and the daily running of the brewery; we can’t wait to see what he creates in the coming years.

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