Reaching the pubs from the end of December is our fourth-generation ale, The Sportsman.
Dedicated to Peter Kershaw who took over as company Chairman in 1968, the Sportsman is a spiced winter ale ideal for the long dark evenings and a cosy Sunday in the pub. Its name honours Kershaw’s sporting pedigree, who as well as being a superb business operator, was a multiple rackets and real tennis amateur UK champion.
How does The Sportsman taste?
Brewed a deep copper colour, the Sportsman is a spiced winter ale with bursting bitterness and a touch of sweetness. The combination of fresh oranges, delicate allspice and hints of clove create a subtle drop of winter delight, making the Sportsman an ideal companion to sip on a long, dark night.
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The Story Behind The Sportsman
It was 1968 when Peter Kershaw succeeded his uncle Sir Edward Holt II as Chairman of Joseph Holt. Sir Edward had been at the helm of the brewery for four decades, a length of service at the top only surpassed by the 46 year leadership of his father, Sir Edward I. No small feat to follow for Peter Kershaw.
Peter wasn’t the first Kershaw to join Joseph Holt. Late in the 1920s, his father Harold Kershaw was brought into the business by his brother-in-law Edward II to join him on the board as a non-Executive Director.
Kershaw was all set to join his Father and Uncle at the family business in 1939, when World War II beckoned and he instead joined the Navy where he served in destroyers throughout the war. Peter returned from wartime naval service in the Far East in 1946 and began work in the brewhouse. Kershaw took over as brewery manager in 1953, at which point he also joined the board and became company secretary.
It would be 15 years later when Kershaw would take over the Chairmanship. He did so at a period of great natural change for Joseph Holt with two elder statesmen, Sir Edward II and Harold Kershaw, both passing away within six months of each other after a combined total of 104 years of service.
Peter skilfully managed the transition and lead the company through the 70s, 80s, 90s, resisting many takeover bids at a time of public ownership for the company. Early in 2000, he was delighted to see Joseph Holt taken back into private ownership. Peter Kershaw passed away in May 2000 at the age of 85 after more than half a century at the brewery.
Real Tennis and Rackets Champion
Alongside his passion for real ale, Peter Kershaw was one of the outstanding rackets and real tennis players of his generation winning several UK singles and doubles amateur championships.
In 1939 at the age of 23, Kershaw won his first amateur UK singles rackets championship and won the Noel Bruce Cup seven times in a row after the second world war. At real tennis, Kershaw was UK amateur singles champion in 1948 and 1951, as well as winning the amateur doubles championship on seven occasions.
It’s clear that Peter Kershaw wasn’t just a talented sportsman and businessman, he was also a generous charity donor. In 1974 he set up the Peter Kershaw Trust which has since donated large amounts to local Manchester charities.
A true Sportsman in every sense of the word.