Our History

  • Joseph Holt 1800s

    1813

    Joseph Holt is born

    The second youngest child of a weaver, Joseph Holt is born in Unsworth, a village north of Manchester.

  • strangeways hall 520x400

    1840s

    Works at Strangeways

    Joseph Holt starts work as a carter at Strangeways brewery.

  • 1849

    Brewing starts

    After moving into small house in central Manchester, Joseph starts his brewing career at a premises in Oak St, now in the Northern Quarter.

  • ducie bridge brewery

    1855

    Ducie Bridge Brewery

    In the first major expansion, the Holt's take over Ducie Bridge Brewery on York St, now Cheetham Hill Rd, brewing ales and porters.

  • derby brewery joseph holt

    1860

    Derby Brewery move

    Joseph Holt takes out a 999 year lease on a piece of land where he begins work on the brewery we're still in today.

  • 1861

    First pub acquired

    After just supplying beer to local pubs, the brewery acquires the Wellington Hotel in Eccles - the first pub under Joseph Holt.

  • Late 1880s

    Brewery water well deepened

    The deep water well at the brewery site is enlarged to 526ft.

  • edward holt hammock 520x400

    1882

    Brewery control passes to 36 year old Edward

    After working with his father since 1875, company control passes to Edward Holt.

  • Woodthorpe Family Home

    1884

    Holts move to the Woodthorpe

    Edward, his wife and young family move to ‘Woodthorpe’, a large Victorian house.

  • Joseph Holt 1800s

    1886

    Joseph Holt dies age 73

    At the age of 73, Joseph Holt passes away in the comfort of his own home on the 27th February 1886.

  • 1892

    Catherine Holt dies

    Joseph Holt's wife, Catherine, who was instrumental in setting up the business, dies age 82.

  • 1899

    42 tied houses

    The late 1880s and 90s saw a dramatic increase in the Joseph Holt pubs in Manchester and Salford.

  • 1900

    Business is booming

    The brewery now employs around 60 people and brewery output booms to 40,350 barrels.

  • Bottle Stores in the Brewery

    1901

    Bottling plant opens

    Edward Holt introduces a bottling plant to the brewery, initially bottled Holt's Bitter, Burton Ale and Dublin Stout.

  • lord mayor of manchester edward holt

    1908-1909

    Edward twice elected Lord Mayor

    Edward is elected Lord Mayor of Manchester twice in a row.

  • 1914

    Manchester & District Radium Institute

    Alongside leading scientists, Edward establishes the new Radium Institute.

  • 1916

    Honorary Freeman & Baronet

    Edward receives a Baronet for his work on the Haweswater drinking water scheme.

  • 1920

    Sir Edward Holt made a CBE

    In the new year's honours list, Sir Edward Holt receives a CBE.

  • 1922

    Huge Lancashire Boiler installed

    A 1900 sq ft boiler replaces the original and stays in operations for 60 years.

  • 1928

    Sir Edward Holt dies

    After running the brewery for 46 years, Sir Edward dies at MRI aged 78. Control passes to his second son, Edward.

  • christie and holt radium institute

    1932

    Christie & Holt Radium Institute

    The two cancer treating institutes join forces and relocate to Withington.

  • 1951

    Joseph Holt goes public

    Joseph Holt is officially floated and becomes a limited company.

  • Woodthorpe Family Home

    1955

    Woodthorpe Hotel opens

    The home of the Holts since 1884, the Woodthorpe opens its doors as a hotel.

  • 1960

    Bar goes to Coronation St

    King William IV in Salford closes but the bar survives and finds itself in the Rover's Return.

  • Peter_Kershaw

    1968

    Peter Kershaw becomes Chairman

    Sir Edward's nephew, who had worked in the brewhouse since returing from war service, takes over as Chairman.

  • Edward Holt

    1968

    Sir Edward II dies

    After 40 years at the helm and 64 years in total, Sir Edward II passes away at the age of 85.

  • 1973

    Original mash tun replaced

    Joseph Holt's original mash tun is finally replaced.

  • 1977

    Brewery expansion

    £500,000 is invested to re-equip and expand the existing brewery, increasing production by 50%.

  • 1980

    Richard Kershaw joins

    After time as a brewer with Morrell's Brewery and Whitbred, Richard Kershaw joins the family business.

  • 1985

    Richard Kershaw becomes Managing Director

  • brew house copper

    1992

    Brewery expands again

    With demand for Holts beer increasing, brewing capacity is increase by another 50%.

  • 1994

    Named one of the UK’s fastest growing public companies

  • 1996

    Lady Margaret Holt dies

    Lady Margaret, widow of Sir Edward II, dies and leaves £7.5 million in her will to be used for cancer research, continuing her astonishing charity work.

  • 1999

    Celebrating 150 years as a family business

  • 2000

    £300,000 raised for the Christie

    To celebrate our 150 years, £301,056 is raised for the Christie Hospital.

  • Richard Kershaw becomes CEO 2000

    2000

    CEO Richard Kershaw

    The company is taken back into private ownership and Richard Kershaw takes over the reins following the death of his father, Peter aged 85.

  • 2011

    Gold for Crystal Lager

    Crystal Lager wins Gold at the International Brewing Awards.

  • 2012

    Horse & Jockey pub & microbrewery

    The brewery purchases this Chorlton pub and Bootleg microbrewery.

  • two Diamond Lager on a bar

    2013

    Diamond Lager’s turn for Gold

    Diamond wins best premium lager at the International Brewing Awards.

  • National Heart of Community Award 2014

    2014

    Honoured with Heart of the Community Award

    Awarded a national Heart of the Community award by BBPA.

  • Black Wins Gold at International Brewing Awards

    2015

    Black takes international beer gold

    Our brewery completes a rate hat-trick of 3 international golds.

  • 2015

    Christie centenary appeal raises £402,000

  • 2016

    National Heart of the Community winner

    The first UK company to win the award twice.

  • 2017

    Francis House charity appeal raises £92,000

  • two Diamond Lager on a bar

    2017

    Diamond wins 2nd Gold

    We become just one of three breweries in the world to win four consecutive gold medals.

  • 2017

    National Pub Aid Award

    Judged by the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, we receive the award for our charity and community work.

  • two hoots on sale house of parliament

    2017

    Two Hoots on sale in Parliament

    Two Hoots goes on sale in Stranger's Bar.

  • Jane, Andrew and Richard Kershaw on Joseph Holt roof

    2017

    6th gen Jane Kershaw joins

    Jane Kershaw, daughter of Richard, joins the family business as our sixth generation.

  • two Diamond Lager on a bar

    2018

    Rebrand of our core lager range

    Our three core lagers - Diamond, Crystal and Crystal Gold are rebranded.

  • 2018

    Slattery & Holts create unique beer

    We team up with fellow Manchester family business, 3rd gen chocolatier Slattery, to create Dark Delight - a chocolate stout.

  • 2018

    Hat-trick of Heart of the Community awards

    After raising £113,000 for Maggie's cancer centre, we're awarded our 3rd Heart of the Community award.

  • cask ale programme 520x400

    2019

    170 Cask Ale Club

    To celebrate our 170th year, we launch a special six beer series of cask ales - one for each of our six generations so far.

  • 2019

    Jane Kershaw named Brewer of the Year

    At a ceremony in Westminster, Jane is awarded Brewer of the Year as voted for by the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.

  • manchester bee glass

    2019

    Manchester Bee Glass launched

    Combining two of Manchester's most treasured icons - beer and the bee - the Manchester Bee Glass is launched.

  • Richard and Andrew Kershaw

    2019

    Andrew Kershaw joins

    Andrew Kershaw joins his father and sister at Joseph Holt, making it the first time in our 170 year history that siblings from the Holt line have worked together.

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