For almost a thousand years, the town of Stone in Staffordshire has been a brewing town. Stone's first recorded brewers were Augustinian Monks who brewed ales blessed with the sign of the cross.
Lymestone is a small independent or "Micro brewery". We are situated a small distance from Stone town centre in what was described to us as "a brick built industrial unit". Actually it turned out to be a former brewery and quite a large one at that. First built in 1889 by Montgomery and Company, a large brewery was built on the edge of the town within easy reach of the canal, and later the railway. The brewery changed hands in 1902 when due to a failed court case over the use of the name Stone Ale; Newcastle under Lyme Brewers Roland and Edward Bent bought the brewery lock stock and barrel! The acquisition of the Brewery included an estate of 23 tied houses. The Brewery was altered and enlarged throughout the early 20th century. Production at the Stone site ran round the clock during the Second World War when Bent's sister site in Liverpool was heavily damaged by enemy bombing. By the time Bents Brewery Co Ltd was closed by Bass Charrington in the 1970's, Bents operated 514 pubs.
Some time after the closure of the Brewery bottling continued on site, however it was not long before the brewing industry drew to a final close and any beer related business was relegated to the history books. Well, that's the history according to various sources so it must be more or less right – however we are always interested to hear about stories from the past so contact us if you wish to share your memories.
In the intervening years, Bass released the site to private ownership. Nothing remained of the former brewery except the buildings which were sub divided and rented to companies eager to capitalise on the ready-made industrial estate.
Brad has been in the brewing industry since 1990 when he joined Titanic Brewery as a driver⁄general brew house worker. After 18 years spent with Titanic getting involved with all aspects of the Brewing industry, Brad decided that it was time to go alone, and in 2008 he resigned from his post as Brewer and began the process of setting up Lymestone Brewery. Brad immediately saw the advantages of having the brewery based in Stone. As well as the historic values of a brewing town with a supportive population; there is a building (though for many years neglected) that had been designed for that very purpose. The floors in the "brick built unit" are sloped and all run to drains originally installed when the brewery was first built. The main room is a huge production area of some 15 metres which we now believe would have been the old fermenting rooms with the upper floors removed to incorporate the cellars below. This huge area houses the Lymestone brewing room and also has space for dry storage.
Also on the site is the old well which is available to us should we choose to use it. We are still currently looking into it. Ahem.
Lymestone currently has a 10 barrel brew plant capable of producing approx 40 firkins (casks containing 72 pints) per brew. It has fermentation capacity for 60 barrels meaning that Brad can if he wishes brew 6 times per week. The brewery produces a range of permanent cask ales as well as seasonal brews which can be found in and around Stone, Staffordshire and up to 50 miles from the Brewery. Lymestone beers can be found all across the UK, however they are delivered via wholesalers as the van just cannot make it that far!
Brad"s wife Viv is based in the office along with Lol the spaniel and this family run business also receives support from other family members and friends who run market stalls, help with open days and keep Brad and Viv sane!