Joseph Holt Bitter


A True Icon    |   A Modern Classic   |   Our Newest Vintage


Hail to the ale that started it all, our first and original brew… born in Manchester, Joseph Holt’s Bitter.

Our Bitter recipe was perfected in 1849 and it tastes better than ever in the present day. Joseph Holt’s Bitter is brewed using the same ingredients and traditional brewing method as it was 175 years ago, a drink that spans centuries being enjoyed by generations of beer lovers. We even use the same strain of yeast as we did in 1849, re-growing it to remain environmentally responsible and keeping the perfect taste ever consistent. That’s science.

We’re sure you’ve tasted Joseph Holt’s Bitter at some point, unless you’re over 175 years old which gets us thinking, what life must have been like before it? Explore the beer profile with tasting notes and food pairing, see here.

You can find Bitter across the majority of our 127 pubs, it’s the backbone of who we are.


SMELL: Malty


TASTE: Full Bitterness with a dry malt base





A woman pulling a pint of Bitter.

Nothing but quality, from start to finish.

A simple cheers that crosses generations.

Two people having a cheers with pints of Bitter.
Two men and a woman sat round a table drinking Bitter talking.

Enjoyed by all, but all are young at heart.


The Original… always in fashion.

A pint of Bitter on the floor next to Dr Mertens.
A man holding a pint of Bitter next to an LP player.

The beat of the north, it’s good for the soul.

Joseph Holt Bitter Pump Clips and Bar Runner.

Our new badge

Below us, we have our old Bitter badge (left) and our new bade(right). The now previous badge has been ever prominent in our pubs, serving millions of pints since its creation. We’re very proud to show off the new, bolder look for Bitter. When you see them side by side, you can see the changes and similarities between the past and the present.

In a way, this new badge represents everything we strive for as a brewery. It’s our mission to retain our core values, heritage and tradition, whilst innovating and modernising our brewery and beers to remain ever relevant in today’s world.

The iconic red of bitter isn’t going anywhere, in fact, we’ve selected a bolder and brighter shade of red to mark that this icon is here to stay. The badge itself will be worn on beer engine pumps across most of our pubs in the North West, like a proud knight raising their shield before battle.

Our crest presents the Joseph Holt family badge positioned at the top, sitting on top of the “BITTER” wording, which has a crisp white finish – with “THE ORIGINAL EST. 1849” etched underneath, this drink remains 4%.

Along the border of the crest, eternally carved into the stainless steel forged in The North, are the words that mark what we are… “UNMISTAKABLY NORTHERN”.

Joseph Holt Bitter old badge.
Joseph Holt bitter new badge.

Born in Manchester, enjoyed bv all. Bitter remains a true icon throughout the decades and can be found in all of our pubs across the North West, maintaining the red shimmer on the bar that stands alone as the original and best. May Bitter live on proud and forever, just as it has done since 1849.

What you see before you is not just a badge, a drink, a brand… it’s a community, a fanbase, a masterpiece. We’ve poured (literally) our heart and soul into Bitter, not because we want to, because it deserves love and respect. We at Joseph Holt owe everything we’ve built since day 1 to Bitter, a modern classic with legendary status in the industry.

Paying homage to the 175 years of Bitter production, our brand new look represents the new age of Bitter drinkers. We have younger generations of all genders enjoying this real ale, across the North West and further afield, with delivery available throughout the UK. The notion that this drink was always seen as an elderly choice, has been turned upside down with the real cask ale renaissance.


Our beloved original Bitter wouldn’t still be around without our loyal and supporting customers. With a distinctive taste passed down through generations, many a pint has been enjoyed and shared over family debates and overdue catch-ups with friends. We are proud to support real cask ale and the new launch of our Bitter campaign highlights its importance in British culture. Real Ale is here to stay.

Our newest photos were captured in the Lower Turks Head and the stars of the campaign are you, the real Bitter drinkers who we do this for. We invited our members in the Joseph Holt Club to feature in our campaign as we wanted to give Real Ale lovers a chance to get closer to their Bitter and to gain a sneak preview of our new branding and style.

Smooth, Creamy, Delicious


Traditional, Refreshing, Flavourful


Smooth, Creamy, Excellent


Classic, Consistent, Creamy


Goes, Down, Easily


Smooth, Consistent, Pleasant


Smooth, Mild, Tasty


Refreshing, Honest, Reliable


Smooth, Timeless, Consistent

A woman dressed in red sat down.
A man stood up dressed in red drinking Bitter.
A man sat down holding a pint.
A woman stood up holding a pint of Bitter.
A man leaning over smiling holding a pint of Bitter.
A man laughing sat down holding a pint.
A woman smiling holding a pint of Bitter.
A man smiling sat down at a table holding a pint.
A man smiling holding a pint.


As we focus on Bitter this year, it’s no coincidence that our brewery turns 175 years old, further highlighting the importance of our original brew that started our magnificent journey.

It’s no secret that the real ale market has declined in the UK in the last decade, with the introduction of premium lagers giving people more choice than ever. As a cask ale, Bitter needs conditioning, it’s a live unfiltered product that ferments naturally inside the cask, we won’t get into this chemistry magic, as there’s a full cask ale guide here. ,

This important craft and the skill it needs through the brewing process and the upkeep in the cellars for it to be served at the perfect temperature and age is something we want to see passed through future generations.

Across our pubs in the North West, we’ve noticed a steady increase in young drinkers enjoying our Bitter. This is important as the next generation will carry real ale into the future, a part of our culture that is sewn into the British culture, it’s what sets us apart from the rest of the world. Read all about the campaign for real ale here.

Bitter Competition

With the launch of our new logo, we’ll also be running a competition in our pubs. With every pint of Bitter purchased, you will receive a scratch-and-win. There’s thousands of instant spot prizes to be won, including pints, half pints and food.

There’s also a chance to win big with our online competition, as we are giving away amazing prizes to our customers over the coming months, the prizes keep in line with Our Bitter Campaign and Our Newest Vintage message. You can win prizes such as Airpods, LP Players, Beats by Dre, Vintage Car Experience, Clothes Vouchers and more.

FANCY A ROUND ON US? There’s also an ongoing social media competition running throughout the campaign – Take a picture of you and your Bitter Buddies, tag us on social media (Instagram, Twitter) with #bitterbuddy and you can win a free round for you and your mates. Please find the full Ts&Cs at

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Remember my decision

As an independent family brewer we are committed to safe and responsible drinking.