Young's Brewery

Young's Brewery

Infobox Brewery

name = Young and Co.'s Brewery P.L.C.
caption =
location = Riverside House, Osiers Road, Wandsworth, London SW18 4JD Tel.: 020 8875 7000 E-mail:
owner = AIM Listed and 48% owned by Young's Family
Established = 1831
active_beers = brewbox_beer|name=Young's Special|style=Premium bitter brewbox_beer|name=Young's Bitter|style=Bitter brewbox_beer|name=Young's Waggle Dance|style=Golden Ale brewbox_beer|name=Young's Double Chocolate|style=Stout brewbox_beer|name=Young's Old Nick|style=Barley wine brewbox_beer|name=Young's Ram Rod|style=Strong ale brewbox_beer|name=Young's Champion|style=Ale brewbox_beer|name=Young's St George's|style=Ale brewbox_beer|name=Young's Kew Gold|style=Ale brewbox_beer|name=Young's Special London|style=Ale brewbox_beer|name=Young's Ruby Star|style=Ale brewbox_beer|name=Courage Directors Bitter|style=Bitter brewbox_beer|name=Courage Best Bitter|style=Bitter brewbox_beer|name=Courage Mild Bitter|style=Bitter |

Young & Co's Brewery Plc is a vertically integrated British regional brewer founded in 1831 by Charles Young and Anthony Bainbridge when they purchased the Ram Brewery in Wandsworth. Before the closure of The Ram Brewery in 2006, the Ram was one of the two remaining large London breweries along with the Griffin Brewery run by Fullers in Chiswick.

Young & Co now brews its beers through its jointly owned brewing operations with Charles Wells. This venture is known as the Wells & Young’s Brewing Company, located at the Eagle Brewery in Bedford. Young's & Co is still an independent family owned brewer; it operates its own pub estate and with a 40% stake in its co-owned Wells & Young’s, brewing is a significant part of the business. All of Young & Co's beers are branded as Young's and are sold through its chain of pubs and suppliers.


Ram Brewery

The earliest records of brewing on Young's brewery site are of pub landlord Humphrey Langridge in 1581 distributing beer brewed at the Ram Inn at Wandsworth, which was then a village in Surrey. The site of this inn is today the Brewery Tap. Records from 1675 show that the brewery was run by the Draper family, and in the 18th century, the Trittons purchased the brewery. It was purchased by Charles Allen Young and Anthony Fothergill Bainbridge in 1831. Since then it has been associated with the Young family, and until 2006 the last chairman of Young & Co belonging to the Young's family was John Young (the great-great-grandson of Charles).

Brewing and supply of beer

In 1835 a beam engine was installed, which was in regular use until the 1980s. In 2006, the brewery was a mix of ancient and ultra-modern plant, which produced a wide range of beers. Young's claimed that the Ram Brewery was the oldest British brewery in continuous operation.

The company produced three regular and a series of seasonal and occasional cask ales, keg lagers, and several filtered and pasteurised bottled beers. Young's also contract brewed several beers for InBev, such as Courage Best and Mackeson Stout.

Young's had a number of animals resident in its brewery. There was a ram, a number of geese and about a dozen working draught horses. These horses and drays were still used up until the closure of the brewery in 2006, for local deliveries of beer to locations within a mile or two of the brewery.

The brewery supplied Young's public houses, in London and the area to the south-west, which still number over 200. It also sold to many other pubs and supermarkets. Beer was also exported to many European countries, Canada, the United States and Japan. These sales and distribution are still carried on behalf of Young & Co through its operations with Charles Wells.

It is unclear when the company will replace all of its pubs' defunct "Ram Brewery Wandsworth" signage. The brewer however insists that it is dedicated to keeping the ram as the company logo.

End of the Ram Brewery, start of Wells & Young's

On May 23rd 2006 the company issued a press release [ [ Response to any questions on Project Duck prior to any announcement: ] ] announcing that the Ram Brewery was to close and brewing to be moved to the Eagle Brewery in Bedford then owned by Charles Wells. The firm is called Wells & Young's Brewing, with Charles Wells having a 60% stake and Young & Co 40%, it went into operation on the 2nd October 2006. Wells & Young's are now responsible for brewing, distributing and marketing Charles Wells' and Young & Co's brands at the jointly owned Eagle Brewery in Bedford. The company is operated at arms length from both Young's and Charles Wells. However a combination of Directors from both companies sit on the Wells & Young's Board.

The Ram Brewery officially closed at the end of the business day on Monday, 25 September 2006. The brewery closing story was carried by BBC London news.

Chairman John Young died on 17 September 2006, days before the closure of the brewery, whilst the final brew was being run at the Ram brewery Wandsworth. Beer from the last brew was served at his funeral on 29 September 2006.

Following the closure of the Ram Brewery, Fullers is the only significant brewery still brewing in London

New base in Wandsworth

Young & Co are still based in Wandsworth. Until June 2007 they were based at the offices at the Ram Brewery however after that they moved into their new state-of-the-art Head Office, literally round the corner from the former brewery site.

New warehouse

In March 2007 Young's brewing operations: "Wells & Young's Brewing" opened their state of the art eco friendly warehouse a mile away from the Eagle Brewery in Bedford. This will reduce carbon emissions and congestion in and around the Eagle Brewery. The warehouse took 22 weeks to build and recycles the rainwater from the roof.

Courage brands

In January 2007, Wells & Young's bought the brewing and marketing rights of the legendary Courage brands, Courage Directors, Mild, Light Ale and Best from Scottish & Newcastle. S&N will keep a minority stake in the brands.


Young & Co's beers include,
*Young's Bitter; a 3.7% abv bitter, commonly known as "Ordinary". Ingredients include Maris Otter and crystal malt; Fuggle and Golding hops. Available as a Cask conditioned ale, or bottle conditioned at 4.5% abv in 500ml and 660ml bottles.
*Young's Special; a 4.5% abv bitter. Ingredients include Maris Otter and crystal malt; Fuggle and Golding hops. Available as a Cask conditioned ale, or filtered and pasteurised in 500ml bottles and cans. The formula was altered in 2005 from the previous, slightly stronger and more bitter-tasting 4.6% version.
*Young's Champion A 5.0% abv live bottled ale. The combination of English malted barley and Styrian hops provides a well rounded floral and citrus flavour with hints of fruit.
*Young's Waggle Dance; a 5.0% abv pale ale with the addition of South American honey. Ingredients are pale and crystal malt, Fuggles and Goldings hops together with South American honey. Available in the cask and filtered and pasteurised in 500ml bottles. "The waggle dance is a movement a bee performs to alert the hive of a source of nectar." Waggledance was originally owned and brewed by Sunderland based brewer, Vaux and was bought by Youngs and moved to London when the Vaux brewery was closed in 1999. In 2006 the beer became branded without the Young's name, and in 2008, began to be branded as a Charles Wells beer instead.
*Young's Special London Ale; a 6.4% alcohol by volume bottle conditioned strong pale ale. Ingredients are Maris Otter and crystal malt; Fuggles and Goldings hops. Goldings and Target hops are added after fermentation. Won gold medal for bottle conditioned beer at the 1999 CAMRA Great British Beer Festival. Has occasionally appeared in the cask. Still branded 'Special London' although, of course, now brewed in Bedford.
*Old Nick; a 7.2% abv barley wine. Ingredients are pale and crystal malt; cane sugar and Fuggles and Goldings hops. Available filtered and pasteurised in 500ml bottles. Occasionally available cask conditioned.
*Young's St George's Ale is a 5.2% abv pale ale. Ingredients are Maris Otter and crystal malt; Fuggles and Goldings hops. After fermentation it is dry hopped with English Pilgrim hops. It is available filtered and pasteurised in 500ml bottles, and occasionally, at 4.3% abv, cask conditioned.
*Young's Double Chocolate Stout is a 5.2% abv stout. Ingredients include real dark chocolate.
*Young's Ram Rod at 5% abv Named after the Dorset Horn ram that lived in the Ram Brewery stables in Wandsworth, and on which the company's trademark is based. Maris Otter pale ale malt, crystal malt, fermentation sugar Fuggles and Goldings hops. Available in bottles and in summer/autumn available cask conditioned/
*Young's Winter Warmer
*John Young's Christmas Ale
*Young's Kew Gold Is a 4.7% abv bottle conditioned beer, with a donation from every purchase made to Kew Royal Botanical Gardens.
*Young's Christmas Pudding Ale
*Courage Ale Brands Young & Co owns 40% of Courage Brands through Wells & Young's Brewing these include Directors, Mild and Best
*Young's Oatmeal Stout.

Several Young's beers, including bottled mild ale Dirty Dick's, summer seasonal cask ale Golden Zest, Kew Brew and keg lager Young's Pilsner were discontinued as part of the rationalisation process that took place when Young & Co and Charles Wells' brewing operations merged. Kew Brew has recently been relaunched as Kew Gold in bottle conditioned form.

Ale Combinations

In many Young's pubs, drinkers will combine two different beers in one glass. Popular combinations are:

* "Light and Bitter" — half a pint of Young's Bitter and a 275ml bottle of Light Ale.
* "Mix" — half a pint of Young's Bitter and half a pint of Young's Special.
* "Ram and Special" — half a pint of Young's Special and a 275ml bottle of Ram Rod.



* Helen Osborn, "Inn and Around London". Surrey Fine Art Press. ISBN 0-9518167-0-5.

External links

* [ Young & Co's website]
* [ Wells and Young's Company website]
* [ RateBeer reviews of Young's beers]
* [ Photographic Documentation of the last year of Young's Brewing in Wandsworth]

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