Our History

  • joseph holt portrait


    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


    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.

  • ducie bridge brewery


    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


    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


    Brewery control passes to 36 year old Edward

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

  • Woodthorpe Family Home


    Holts move to the Woodthorpe

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

  • Joseph Holt 1800s


    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


    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


    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.

  • lord mayor of manchester edward holt


    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


    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 PLC.

  • Woodthorpe Family Home


    Woodthorpe Hotel opens

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

  • 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


    Peter Kershaw becomes Chairman

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

  • Edward Holt


    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


    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 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


    CEO Richard Kershaw

    The company is taken back into private ownership and Richard Kershaw takes over the reins as Chief Executive.

  • Peter_Kershaw


    Peter Kershaw passes away

    With over 50 years of service at the company, Peter Kershaw passes away at the age of 85.

  • 2011

    Gold for Crystal Lager

    Crystal Lager wins Gold at the International Brewing Awards.

  • horse and jockey pub chorlton front beer garden


    Horse & Jockey pub & microbrewery

    The brewery purchases this Chorlton pub and Bootleg microbrewery.

  • two Diamond Lager on a bar


    Diamond Lager’s turn for Gold

    Diamond wins best premium lager at the International Brewing Awards.

  • National Heart of Community Award 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


    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


    Diamond wins 2nd Gold

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

  • national pub award winner 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


    Two Hoots on sale in Parliament

    Two Hoots goes on sale in Stranger's Bar.

  • Jane, Andrew and Richard Kershaw on Joseph Holt roof


    6th generation Jane Kershaw joins

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

  • two Diamond Lager on a bar


    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.

  • 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


    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

    In Westminster, Jane is awarded Brewer of the Year as voted for by the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.

  • manchester bee glass


    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


    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.

  • beer shop launched timeline


    Holts at Home Online Beer Shop opened

    A Joseph Holt online beer shop launched for people across the UK.

  • trailblazer stout history timeline


    Trailblazer Stout launched

    Trailblazer Stout - a premium, northern stout - launched across the whole Joseph Holt pub estate to resounding success!

  • Joseph Holt brewery sign black and white


    National Pub Closures

    For the first time in our history, all of our pubs forced to close their doors.

  • Christie charity presentation 520x400


    £174,000 raised for The Christie

    Continuing our 106 year partnership, £174,507 is raised for the CT redevelopment.

  • Sixex gold medal beer joseph holt and master brewer phil parkinson


    Sixex Gold at International Awards

    Century old Sixex claims a gold medal at the International Brewing Awards.

  • legh arms ukraine appeal


    Pubs Raise Over £20,000 for Ukraine

    £20,000 for the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

  • food bank Charity appeal cheque presentation 2022


    £130k donated to North West Food Banks

    Customers, pubs and brewery teams donated £130k+ to six North West foodbanks in charity appeal.

  • mcr food and drink festival cathedral gardens


    25th Manchester Food & Drink Festival

    Joseph Holt is the official partner of the Manchester Beer Bar.

  • LTC staff wellbeing award


    Licenced Trade Charity Staff Wellbeing Award

    The brewery is extremely proud to have won this prestigious award.

  • Cheese and onion, steak and ale pies


    Joseph Holt partners with H.M.Pasties

    A local bakery based in Bolton who are committed to helping ex-offenders find employment.

  • Defibrillator Appeal presented at The Woodthorpe


    Defibrillator Appeal

    We raised an incredible £53,126 to purchase and install 33 defibrillators across our pubs.

  • Woodthorpe Beer Festival Poster


    Woodthorpe Beer Festival

    On the weekend of the 24th November, we hosted our first ever beer festival at The Woodthorpe in Prestwich.

  • Joseph Holt 175 Logo


    Joseph Holt turns 175 Years Old

    Joseph Holt turns 175 and celebrates with a commemorative logo.

  • Black Pint


    International Brewing Awards 2024

    Black and Spin Doctor win Gold Medals at the IBA's 2024 in Manchester.

  • Joseph Holt Bitter


    Our Bitter gets a new look

    Our first and original beer, Bitter, gets a full rebrand.

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