Brewing returns to historic site

PUBGOERS today predicted a healthy future for a new brewery which has restored beer production to a landmark in Ipswich.

PUBGOERS today predicted a healthy future for a new brewery which has restored beer production to a landmark in Ipswich.

They made their assessment while drinking ale made in the old Tolly Cobbold building after more than six years in the brewing wilderness.

The Cliff Quay Brewery site had been shut down since 2002, but a new micro-brewery has now been re-opened there and is selling beer in the adjacent Brewery Tap pub.

Jeremy Moss, head brewer of Cliff Quay Brewery, said: “It is huge relief, but also a great delight. It is a big milestone we have reached.

“We are not only going to sell the beer in the pub but also trade elsewhere to build a sustainable business where The Brewery Tap becomes a shop window.

“We want, as much as possible, to use local raw materials in our food and beer.”

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The micro-brewery was officially opened on Friday by Gay Strutt, the wife of Tolly Cobbold ex-chairman Peter Strutt, and Ipswich Mayor David Hale.

They unveiled a plaque while guests enjoyed two ales - the Tolly Roger and Cliff Quay Bitter - which were produced in the brewery.

Despite the bleak economic climate, visitors predicted a healthy outlook for the pub and the brewery.

Barry Dallas, who has been a regular visitor to the pub over the years, said: “The beer is absolutely excellent. I think the pub will do very well. There is something about having your own brewery and the old building gives it ambience.”

Another visitor, Resa Harrington, who runs the Station Hotel pub in Framlingham, said: “The brewery is a talking point. There is a community of people who are getting sick of the corporate image of pubs.”

Mr Moss said he was delighted to have “re-started the clock of history” when the first batches of ale went on sale in The Brewery Tap last month.

For more than six years, the Cliff Quay brewery lay empty after it was closed down when Tolly Cobbold merged with Essex brewers Ridleys.

It spelt the end of Tolly Cobbold after more than 250 years in the region.

The brewing revival was made possible by the Earl Soham Brewery, which invested heavily in securing the lease agreement and renovation of the site.

The Brewery Tap had also been closed since August 2008, but has re-opened with a new landlady and two chefs.

Are you pleased to see the brewery up and running again? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to

The Cobbold family started brewing at Cliff Quay in 1746 after moving from Harwich. The current brewery was built between 1894 and 1896.

The Cobbold brewery merged with Tollemache brewery in 1957 to form Tolly Cobbold and moved all brewing to Cliff Quay.

The brewery has endured a turbulent 30 years since Tolly Cobbold was first taken over, by Ellerman Shipping Group, in 1977.

It had two further changes of ownership before brewing ceased in 1989.

Two years later brewing resumed with a “new” Tolly Cobbold company - but in 2002 brewing ceased again when Tolly merged with Essex brewers Ridleys.

That company was, in turn, taken over by Greene King - once Tolly's biggest Suffolk competitor - three years ago.

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