Joseph Holt


Our Brewery based in the heart of Manchester has 170 years of brewing history within its walls. We have seen a lot change since we started brewing back in 1849, to both the Brewery and the great city of Manchester.

We have been here so long we really do feel part of Manchester's history and hopefully its future. With well over 100 pubs in the region, we are part of this great city's fabric. 

From one mans dream to brew his beer in Manchester, to receiving International gold awards for brewing the best lagers in the World and to raising millions of pounds for charity, we are proud of our history and our part in a city's evolution.

From the birth of Joseph Holt in the early nineteenth century, the Brewery and the city have seen some good times and some dark days. The timeline below highlights some notable dates.

1801 ~ 1900: Let the story begin


Population of Manchester grows to 70,000


Joseph Holt is born

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


Peterloo Massacre

The Peterloo Massacre (or Battle of Peterloo) occurred at St Peter's Field, Manchester, England, on 16 August 1819, when cavalry charged into a crowd of 60,000–80,000 that had gathered to demand the reform of parliamentary representation.


The Manchester Guardian begins publication

Known as The Manchester Guardian until 1959 this world-renowned broadsheet paper was still edited in Manchester until 1963.


Population of Manchester grows to 142,000


Joseph Holt arrives in Manchester to work at the Strangeways Brewery


Joseph Holt starts brewing his own beer


Manchester’s first public library opens


Joseph Holt takes over the Ducie Bridge Brewery

Joseph’s first major expansion was by taking over this Brewery based on York Street (now Cheetham Hill Road).


Joseph Holt begins work on The Derby Brewery

In December, Joseph took out a 999 year lease on a piece of land owned by the Earl of Derby’s estate where he began work on The Derby Brewery.


Joseph Holt acquires his first new pub the Wellington Hotel, Eccles

1861 ~ 1865

American civil war plunges Manchester’s textile industry into depression


The Manchester Town Hall is built

Manchester Town Hall is a famous example of Victorian, Neo-gothic architecture. Designed by architect Alfred Waterhouse, it occupies a triangular site facing Albert Square. The exterior is dominated by the clock tower, which rises to 87 metres (285 feet) and houses Great Abel, the clock bell.


Manchester United founded as Newton Heath LYR

Newton Heath Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Football Club was established in 1878. The team played on a pitch at North Road and were initially outfitted in green and gold jerseys. By 1892, they had been admitted to the Football League. The club remained in the area until 1893, when it moved to new premises at Bank Street in nearby Clayton. The name was changed to Manchester United Football Club in 1902.


Manchester City founded as St. Mark’s

Members of St. Mark's Church of England, West Gorton, founded the football club that would become known as Manchester City, for largely humanitarian purposes. Two church wardens sought to curb local gang violence and alcoholism by instituting new activities for local men.


Joseph Holt Brewery grows to employ 8 people and the estate expands


Control of the Brewery passes to son Edward

Edward Holt, later to become Sir Edward Holt takes control after working with Joseph since 1875.


Joseph Holt dies

1886 ~ 1892

Joseph Holt buys 27 new tied houses


The Manchester Ship Canal opens

Construction began in 1887; it took six years and cost about £15 million (equivalent to about £1.65 billion as of 2011). When the ship canal opened in January 1894 it was the largest river navigation canal in the world. Although it enabled the newly created Port of Manchester to become Britain's third busiest port—despite the city being about 40 miles (64 km) inland—the canal never achieved the commercial success its sponsors had hoped for.

1896 ~ 1899

During the Brewery/Publicans war Joseph Holt acquire 42 new tied houses


Production doubles over the last decade to 40,350 barrels


Joseph Holt Brewery expands to employ 60