Thursday, 15 March 2012

Salford here we come

A couple of weeks ago, Hydes Brewery in Manchester announced that it is moving from Moss Side to a new site in Salford.

Hydes have been in business since 1863 and at the Queens Brewery since 1899 (it's unclear what will happen to this, apparently it's a listed building). The new brewery is on a site near Salford Quays, next to where the BBC has moved. It will, at least initially, have a smaller brewing capacity than the existing brewery as Hydes will only be brewing cask beer. Their smooth beers and contract-brewed Harp lager are going, to be replaced by other breweries' products in Hydes' tied estate. More significantly, the cask Boddingtons Bitter that Hydes has contract brewed for Inbev since the Strangeways Brewery closed in 2005 is also being discontinued.

I thought Hydes cask Boddingtons Bitter was a decent version of the beer I drank a fair bit of in my youth, although that itself was nowhere near as good as it had been according to older generations of Mancunian drinkers. Clearly sales have been dropping since InBev took over Whitbread in 2000 (who had themselves taken over Boddingtons in 1989) - I haven't seen cask Boddingtons Bitter in a pub in Manchester for about five years.

Will Hydes still call themselves The Manchester Brewer after the move to Salford? I suppose it's the first large-scale brewing in the city since Whitbread closed the Cook Street Brewery that once produced Threlfalls and Chesters beers.

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