Cheers to 150 years of brewing

A LOCAL producer that has weathered the two world wars, changes of ownership and rebrands is celebrating a very special anniversary this year.

Liberation Brewing Company. L>R Tim Hubert, MD, Stephen Neil, process brewer, Peter Corcoran, quality control manager and Pat Dean, head brewer                                                             Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30501696)
Liberation Brewing Company. L>R Tim Hubert, MD, Stephen Neil, process brewer, Peter Corcoran, quality control manager and Pat Dean, head brewer Picture: ROB CURRIE. (30501696)

In 1871, J S Palmer set up a brewery in Ann Street with the hope of rivalling the best British brews by producing ‘prime ales and porter of superior quality’.

Over the past 150 years the brewery – today known as the Liberation Brewery and part of the Liberation Group – has more than lived up to Mr Palmer’s expectations. Its beers have become part of Channel Island legend and won many national and international awards.

Patrick Dean is the latest in a long line of chief brewers – including one incumbent installed when the Germans requisitioned the brewery during the Occupation.

‘The brewery had been known as Ann Street Brewery before changing names and in 1926 they first started advertising their beers as Mary Ann,’ he said. ‘The brewery was rebuilt in the 1930s and was occupied during the Second World War, but continued brewing under a German brewer. The 1970s and 80s saw much expansion fuelled by the popularity of tourism. The brewery was relocated to Tregear House at Longueville in 2003 and we became the Liberation Group in 2009.’

In 1993, after graduating from university, Patrick had a choice of two career paths: journalism and brewing. Fortunately for beer aficionados he chose the latter.

The group also includes the Butcombe Brewery in Bristol in addition to pubs and wholesale businesses in both bailiwicks and southern England. The local brewery employs five staff who brew beer into casks, kegs and bottles.

‘My first brewery was in North Wales where I worked for two years, before taking the post to work in both breweries at the Tipsy Toad in 1995,’ he said. ‘The Tipsy Toad subsequently merged with the Jersey Brewery, which in turn became the Liberation Brewery in 2009. I was appointed head brewer in 2017.

‘In a good year we can brew as many as 20 different beers. Our main core beers are Liberation Ale, IPA and Herm Gold in cask/bottle and Liberation Best, Waverider and Longboard in keg. The signature beers are Liberation Ale in cask/bottle and Best in keg. The brewery has won over 20 medals in awards since their conception. Highlights being golds for Liberation Ale in 2011 and 2013, IPA in 2015, Pale Ale in 2017 and Best in 2011 and 2019.’

The waste products from the brewing process are put to good uses. Spent malt is recycled within the parish of St Saviour by the Houzé family to feed cows in their dairy herd at Lodge Farm at Maufant while hops residues are used as a fertiliser by gardeners.

As well as its beers being on sale in the islands, Liberation Brewery exports to the UK, largely through its sister brewery Butcombe and also to pub companies and wholesalers including Wetherspoons and Molson Coors. It has also exported beer to France.

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