Traditionalists toast return to Leeds for Tetley’s beer

Greg Mulholland pictured outside the old Tetley brewery in Leeds in 2011.
Greg Mulholland pictured outside the old Tetley brewery in Leeds in 2011.

Beer lovers and heritage experts were today raising a glass to celebrate the news that Tetley’s is coming home to Leeds.

As revealed yesterday by the Yorkshire Evening Post, Leeds Brewery has joined forces with Danish drinks giant Carlsberg to bring some Tetley beers back to their traditional West Yorkshire heartland.

Leeds Brewery will be making a range of specialist beers based on recipes drawn from the Tetley company archives, starting with a pale ale that was first served up in 1868.

Praise for the idea was led by Greg Mulholland, the former Leeds North West MP who was a vocal critic of Carlsberg’s decision to close the historic Tetley brewery at Hunslet in 2011 and shift production of its famous brands to other parts of the country.

Mr Mulholland, who is chair of the British Pub Confederation, said: “It’s great news that the excellent Leeds Brewery are now going to be brewing some Tetley’s brands, using the unique Tetley’s yeast, back in Leeds, the home of Tetley’s, one of Britain’s most famous beer brands.

“This is an acknowledgment that Carlsberg have realised that taking Tetley’s away from its Leeds and Yorkshire heritage was a big mistake and has damaged the integrity as well as the popularity of the brand and beer.

“Leeds Brewery, one of the area’s superb new breweries, had already taken up the torch of famous Leeds beer and it’s wonderful if a little ironic that global giants are turning to them to revive [a piece of] Yorkshire heritage.”

The move was also given the thumbs-up by Leeds Civic Trust director Martin Hamilton, who said: “It was a shock when Carlsberg Tetley pulled out of Leeds after nearly 200 years of brewing history, so it is wonderful news that Leeds Brewery are going to revive some of Tetley’s older brews – which of course taste so much better when they use Yorkshire water! We raise a glass to this imaginative venture.”

Tetley’s flagship bitter will still be made in Wolverhampton, with its production having been moved to the West Midlands after the closure of the Tetley brewery in Leeds.

Founded by Joshua Tetley in 1822, the Hunslet plant was bought by Carlsberg in 1998.

The brewery’s various buildings – nearly 40 of them – were demolished after it closed, save for an art deco office complex that became the Tetley arts space and bar.­

Plans are currently in the pipeline to turn part of the site into a park in a South Bank development that will also include up to 850 homes.

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