You may recall in our issue 500 one of our correspondents providing memories of their time in Sheffield beer talked about when the Wards brand returned. The following brings things up to date.
In your review of Sheffield Brewing in BM 500 you mention that Robinsons have taken over brewing Wards which is not strictly true. Yes, we franchised the brewing of the keg version to Robinsons brewery some time ago as we did not have those facilities at the time – but we remain the Brand owner here at Maxim Brewery at Houghton le Spring in County Durham and continue to brew the cask version. We have however removed the yeasty sulphur smell that Wards did sometimes have. Do try it again if you’re up our way.
For my part I started at Wards in 1985 before moving to Sunderland to become Wards and Vaux Breweries finance Director in 1995 and was there at the end when the City of London asset stripped both breweries and closed them on 2nd July 1999. I was part of the MBO team that attempted to buy Vaux Brewery and a number of pubs in 1999. In 2000, I was able to salvage a portfolio of the brands and their recipes including Double Maxim and Wards Best Bitter and founded the Maxim Brewery.
This year marked the 20 year anniversary of the closure and we sponsored a film that has been made by an independent film company – Lonely Tower Films. It’s called a ‘passion for Vaux’ – but does include a bit on Wards and the tragedy of that closure. Its available on Amazon – £13.99
Here’s the challenge – In an ideal world we would now look to a quality Sheffield brewer who would want to brew the cask (and bottle/can) going forward which would be a great story for the City. Anyone interested?
Mark Anderson, Managing Director, Maxim Brewery