Joseph Holt

The Mayor - 170 Cask Ale

After the success of our first 170 cask ale special, Ducie Ale, we give you our second-generation stunner - The Mayor.

The Mayor is a hat-tipping tribute to Sir Edward Holt, son of brewery founder Joseph Holt. Edward holds a special place in Manchester history having played a pivotal role in bringing fresh water down to the region from the Lake District.

The 170 Cask Ale Programme will see a series of six new ales brewed to celebrate the six generations of family to work at Joseph Holt. Together the ales will tell the story of our iconic Manchester brewery from start to present day.

How does The Mayor taste?

The Mayor is a premium cask lager with a light, straw colour and floral smell. It’s brewed with Styrian Goldings and choice lager malt to give a crisp and refreshing taste at 4.6% ABV.

It’s available in selected Joseph Holt pubs from 5th August until the end of September – find the list of participating pubs here. Join us on the journey and give this summer cask ale a try.

The Story Behind The Mayor

The Mayor honours Sir Edward Holt, our second-generation leader who took over from his father in 1882 at the age of 36. After a brief venture of his own, Edward joined his father full-time in 1875 to learn the brewing ropes. Seven years later he took over the main reins where he’d remain for the next 46 years.

In 1884 Edward, his wife Elizabeth and young family moved to ‘Woodthorpe’, a large Victorian house in Prestwich where they’d live the rest of their lives. Of course The Woodthorpe is still very much with us today, now converted into our beautiful flagship pub.

Between 1886 and the turn of the century, Edward Holt bought over 60 tied houses, increasing beer production from 16,068 barrels in 1886 to 40,350 barrels in 1899. It also meant an increase in workforce, going from eight employees to 60 people in the early 1900s.  

Local government work and recognition

During a similar period, Edward also nurtured a career in local government. In 1890 he was elected to the city council where he served Manchester right up to his death in 1928. He worked his way up to chairman of the waterworks committee and under his direction acquired the Haweswater Estate, which would ultimately provide the people of Manchester with sufficient amounts of fresh water.

In 1908 and 1909, Edward enjoyed the rare honour of being elected Lord Mayor of Manchester twice in a row – hence the name of our generation 2 ale. Thanks to his sterling work he was made an Honorary Freeman of the City in 1916 and in the same year was made a baronet for his work on the Haweswater scheme. Sir Edward Holt was also made a CBE in 1920 and more recently in 2007 was named the ‘People’s Champion’ by the Manchester Evening News.

Charity and cancer research efforts

Perhaps Sir Edward Holt’s greatest legacy is the role he played in building up the Christie Hospital to what it is today. The Holt’s helped set up funds, raise money, buy equipment and premises for the newly formed Manchester and District Radium Institute – a new institute to test the potential of radioactive radium in the treatment of cancers.

The Radium Institute proved to be a great success, so much so that it would relocate with the Christie Hospital, founded in the 1890s, to a bigger site in Withington in 1932. In honour of the significant contribution over the years, the new site would be named the Christie Hospital and Holt Radium Institute.

The brewery has carried on Sir Edward Holt’s legacy and still raises significant sums for the Christie Hospital to this day.


Find The Mayor at your nearest Joseph Holt pub