2012: A significant year in the history of Hook Norton Brewery

PUBLISHED: 16:12 10 August 2012 | UPDATED: 21:43 20 February 2013

2012: A significant year in the history of Hook Norton Brewery

2012: A significant year in the history of Hook Norton Brewery

Nestled in the Cotswold Hills and steeped in history and tradition, Hook Norton Brewery remains one of only 32 independent family-run breweries left in the UK.

2012: A significant year in the history of Hook Norton Brewery


Nestled in the Cotswold Hills and steeped in history and tradition, Hook Norton Brewery remains one of only 32 independent family-run breweries left in the UK. Still operating on the same site of its founder, John Harris, its beautiful Victorian tower is barely visible through the trees that line the narrow lane to the brewery.



Popular with tourists and beer fans, those visiting Hook Nortons brewery and visitor centre find themselves trapped in time, witnessing the 25 horse power steam engine that remains in full working order and the shire horses that still deliver to the local pubs.

With a new joint Managing Director (Commercial), Adrian Staley, now at the helm along with the great-great grandson of the founder, James Clarke 2012 is proving to be a significant year in Hook Nortons history.

Adrians arrival has signalled the beginning of change, with a complete makeover of the brewery, comprising of a complete rebrand, new positioning, increased investment in its pub estate, and a revamped beer portfolio.

Already set in motion, these changes set Hook Norton apart from its competitors, providing them with an even stronger edge in difficult economic times. The introduction of a new corporate identity, one that draws on the brewerys Victorian heritage, compounds the notion of heritage synonymous with the brand, whilst adding a fresh and contemporary feel.




The new logo, a Victoriana scroll embossed in copper, is now feeding through Hook Norton Brewery and its pubs. New pump clips, bottle labels, merchandise and literature, along with a new website, have all been implemented. With a tenanted estate of more than 40 pubs situated all across the Cotswold Hills, it is a massive task, and one that Adrian is enjoying.

The move to implement so many changes follows a thorough review of all aspects of the business, from staffing through to the refurbishment of many parts of the brewery site. A key part to this has been establishing a portfolio of core brands that reflects the need of todays drinkers whilst taking account of where the cask ale market will be in the future.

Whilst many of the brewerys brands have remained unchanged, others have been altered, with Hooky Bitter being renamed simply Hooky and Hooky Dark reverting back to its original name of Mild.




Whilst significant changes have occurred in all aspects of the business, the importance of the brewerys roots and heritage has remained constant. Hook Norton may be a modern brewer, but it is proud of the history and provenance that has been the cornerstone of the brand. This has been reflected in the new strapline, Handcrafted beers from the Cotswold Hills since 1849.

The history and heritage of our brand is a vital ingredient in our success. Tradition has always been part of our appeal. We are inextricably linked to the Cotswolds, and it is the combination of our history and provenance that makes Hook Norton special comments Adrian.

Whilst our beer portfolio has been changed and updated to suit changing customer tastes, the brewing techniques we use, that have been handed down over the years, have not.

Using only the highest quality ingredients, Hook Norton sources the majority of its hops and malts from Hereford and Worcester, and uses water fresh from the Cotswold Hills, pumped from beneath the brewery. Each of these natural ingredients is skilfully combined to produce something truly special.

This level of care and attention applies to the rest of the business as well, especially the tenanted estate. The relatively small size of the brewery allows a quick response, whilst a bespoke support programme gives tenants access to anything they need, from leaflets and training to major investment.

The hard work is already paying off, with a number of award wins and achievements honouring the brewery and estate. The visitor centre was recently commended by Visit England, who described it as a high quality visitor attraction, whilst the Great Western Arms in Aynho is a finalist in the Publicans Morning Advertisers Great British Pub Awards after winning Tenanted/ Licensed Pub of the Year for its region

The coming months will see more exciting changes in Hook Norton, moving the brewery on into the 21st century, and ultimately driving more success, ensuring the survival of the brewery for another 160 years.

For more information on Hook Norton Brewery and its beers, please visit the website at www.hooky.co.uk.


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