William Stones started brewing in 1847. In 1868 he purchased the lease of the Neepsend Brewery, renamed it the Cannon Brewery, and continued to brew there until his death in 1894. Stones’ success saw him die as one of the richest men in Sheffield. William Stones Ltd. was purchased by Bass Brewery in 1968.
Stones Bitter was brewed at the Cannon Brewery from 1948. It was originally available across South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, with distribution extended to the rest of the north of England in 1977, and nationwide from 1979, accompanied by a considerable marketing push.
Popularity reached a peak in 1992 when it was the highest-selling bitter in the country. Following the brewery’s closure in 1999, Stones Bitter has continued to be produced at various sites by the Molson Coors Brewing Company.
Since 1999, the brewery site has become derelict. Although planning permission exists for demolition, we await redevelopments. The image above, dating from the 1980s, is of particular interest. It belongs to Duncan Shaw, manager of the Fat Cat, and appears to show a car suspended in mid-air – we would be grateful if anyone can provide more information about this photo.