Gateshead Breweries

Welcome to The History of Gateshead Breweries which naturally also involves those in Newcastle since the instigator of the Toon's main brewery was a Gateshead lad

Our story starts in 1702 when a suit was instituted in Chancery by the mayor and burgesses of Newcastle against William Lakey "for keeping a comon Brewery in Gateshead."
The cheeky nowts

James Deuchar, a Borders farmer acquired the Ridley Arms Brewery, Pilgrim Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in 1880 and the Monkwearmouth Brewery, Sunderland, in 1890. . The Ridley Arms Brewery was closed in 1895. The company acquired William Ross & Co, Lochside Brewery, North East Road, Montrose, Scotland, in 1926. The Monkwearmouth Brewery ceased to brew in 1936 and was converted into a mineral water factory.

Left click the image to enlarge it

This is the ship unloading its cargo of beer from the Lochside Brewery
(This ship was put into commercial service after it was captured from the Germans during WW1 )

The company, along with 125 licensed houses and hotels, was acquired by Newcastle Breweries Ltd, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in 1956. The Lochside Brewery ceased to brew in the same year.

(Tyne and Wear County Council was formed in 1974 and only lasted a few years..the name for the area lingers on and many would think it is a relatively new name but as this advert shows it was around in the 1930's)

In 1770 John Barras, a wealthy home brewer of Whickham, established a Brewery in Gateshead.
In 1884 John Barras jnr took over The Tyne Brewery and in 1890, with John Barras as the major player, Newcastle Breweries was established...and for a while Newcastle Brown Ale was brewed in Gateshead, where so called Newcastle Exhibition was born... a full circle. For more, click the link S&N

The company traces its roots back to 1749, when the William Younger Brewery was established in Scotland. In 1770, John Barras was established in Gateshead by John Barras Snr, and his partner, William Johnston. In 1856, William McEwan established his Fountain Brewery in Edinburgh. Finally, in 1890, Newcastle Breweries was formed when John Barras, Carr Bros & Carr, J.J & W.H. Allison and Swinburne & Co got together.

Then, in 1931, William Younger and William McEwan merged to form Scottish Brewers Ltd. Almost 30 years later, in 1960, Scottish & Newcastle Breweries was formed when Scottish Brewers and the Newcastle Breweries merged.

John Barras & Co

First established in Gateshead in 1770 they took over and moved to the Tyne brewery buildings in Bath Lane in 1884, where they produced X, XX and the most popular XXX, along with Stout, Double Stout, Top Ale and Pale Ale. In 1887, to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, Barras Ltd produced Exhibition Ale. In 1890, Barras formed Newcastle Breweries Ltd, an amalgamation of themselves and four other companies, namely J.J. and W.H. Allison of High Brewry, North Shields, W.H. Allisons Monkwearmouth brewery, Sunderland, Carr Bros & Carr of North Shields and Swinburne & Co. of Gateshead
Tyne Brewery, Corporation Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Registered in Febrary 1890 to acquire: John Barras & Co Ltd, Tyne Brewery; William Henry Allison & Co, High Brewery, Duke Street, North Shields and Monkwearmouth Brewery, Sunderland; Swinburne & Co, Gateshead; and Carr Brothers & Carr, Low Lights, North Shields; with a total of 215 public houses. Merged with Scottish Brewers Ltd in 1960 to form Scottish & Newcastle Breweries Ltd. Closed in 2005 with brewing transferred to the former Federation Brewery at Dunston.

This is the logo of the pubs owned by The Spirit Group of Burton on Trent. Named after the Gateshead founder of the Newcastle Brewery, the first John Barras was introduced in 1994. There are now over 115 sites around the country

For more on local breweries, past and present, click on CannyBevvy
but note it doesn't mention James Deuchar!

Architecturally, some of the pubs were very grand. Most of the grand ones were owned by Swinburne’s Brewery and include the Central, the Metropole, The Half Moon on Swinburne Street and The Royal which was a lovely old building on Prince Consort Road. Rowell’s Brewery had The Crown which housed their offices and had function rooms as well as being a pub. The brewery itself ran between East Street and the High Street.”

Rowell’s New Brewery was founded in 1840, was enlarged in 1913, then taken over by Newcastle Breweries Ltd in 1959.

Tuckers was an important brewery site near the railway line, and the Barras brewery was near there too with cellars under the railway. Isaac Tucker & Co’s Turk’s Head Brewery was established in 1790 and was reported in 1891 to be “the first to introduce pale ale into the neighbourhood”.

The company had 50 tied houses, here's one,
The Coach and Horses
on Gateshead High Street

was taken over by Whitbread in 1967 and was served with a compulsory purchase order a year later by Gateshead highways department which had it demolished in 1970.

Newcastle is thought to be the first place in Britain to brew beer. Legends aside, it is known that Newcastle's first commercial brewery, John Barras & Company of Gateshead, was established here in 1770.

Then, in 1890, after the Gateshead Brewery was bought by the North Eastern Railway Company, John Barras & Company purchased the Tyne Brewery and linked up with several small breweries in North Shields, Gateshead and Sunderland to form The Newcastle Breweries Ltd.

In 1913, the first of many extensions to the Tyne Brewery was carried out and, following the First World War, the Blue Star was adopted as the Company's trademark. Newcastle Brown Ale was first brewed in 1927 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, by Jim Porter after three years of developing this special brew. Almost immediately after its release, Newcastle Brown won the gold medals at the International Brewers' Exhibition in London in 1928.

The success of the 1928 Brewers' Exhibition had to be recognized. Originally, Newcastle Brown's clear, flint, glass bottle had borne an oval label. Another loop was added at the top of the label to carry triumphant details—and the famous Figure 8 label—now known throughout the world was born. The Blue Star emblem was also added.

Our Brown Ale quickly established itself as the favorite brew in England's North East, and by 1937 was widely distributed in bottles and in cans to meet the demand. Between the 1930s and 1960s, Brown Ale continued to surge in popularity and became a symbol of the hardy working class tradition of the shipbuilding, mining and steel industries that characterize Newcastle even today.

Brown Ale sales were still climbing at the start of the Second World War. Wartime controls meant a shortage of staff, fewer raw materials and government restrictions. Although Blue Star 'utility' beers were introduced, Newcastle Brown Ale hardly changed during this era, and when victory celebrations were held, the 'Broon' flowed on Tyneside.

In the 1950s, Robert Deuchar Ltd of Newcastle and Duddingston, James Deuchar Ltd of Newcastle and Montrose, and John Rowell & Son Ltd of Gateshead became part of The Newcastle Breweries. In 1951, a new bottling factory was opened at Tyne Brewery. Machinery improved and bottling lines soon began to rattle off Newcastle Brown Ale with a tin crown cap instead of the old screw top version. In 1960, Newcastle Breweries joined together with Scottish Brewers to form Scottish & Newcastle Breweries, expanding Newcastle Brown Ale's access to several new markets and exporting.

The 1980s saw Newcastle redesign its bottle label and adopt the slogan "The One and Only," an affectionate moniker for the original which was popularized in 1928 by the Newcastle Journal. A new advertising campaign, entitled "The Dog," exploited the North East euphemism of "I'm going to walk the dog" meaning "I'm off to the pub for a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale."

Newcastle Brown's growing worldwide popularity even spurred an Australian brewer to launch a hostile bid for the company in 1988, but Scottish & Newcastle was not about to take this sitting upside down. This attempted seizure, in turn, fostered an intense backlash in Newcastle, with locals passionately rallying behind our "Keep Us on Top!" campaign. As a sign of solidarity, the Newcastle Brown label was inverted until the takeover was quashed.

By the 1990s, Newcastle Brown Ale had become the best-selling bottled beer in the UK, as well as the top-selling bottled beer in Europe. Which, of course, begs the question: can America be far behind?