Family at heart of Ridleys

FAMILY remains at the heart of the merger which sees Suffolk losing its famous Tolly Cobbold brewery after more than 250 years in the area.Ridley & Sons Limited, based in Hartford End, Chelmsford, is another family run brewery, which has been in business for more than 150 years and has been passed down through six generations.

FAMILY remains at the heart of the merger which sees Suffolk losing its famous Tolly Cobbold brewery after more than 250 years in the area.

Ridley & Sons Limited, based in Hartford End, Chelmsford, is another family run brewery, which has been in business for more than 150 years and has been passed down through six generations.

Today original descendants still run the business with Nicholas Ridley, the great great grandson of the original founder Thomas Dixon-Ridley as the executive chairman.

There are already links to the Suffolk area with the company currently supplying two of Ipswich's bars with beer, Bar IV in St Peter's Street and The Thomas Eldred in Cedarcroft Road.


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Ridley & Sons Limited is very proud of its long history and even offers virtual tours of its brewery on the website. The site takes you through every stage of the process at the Clockhouse Brewery It is so realistic you can almost smell the heady combination of malt and hops.

Things seem to be going very well for the brewery as their growing estate of pubs now numbers 65. This, combined with the production of a range of high quality cask ales and bottles beers means the company are in a strong position to help keep the ideals of a family-run business alive.

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Their cask ales include IPA, Prospect, Old Bob and Rumpus, and will soon include Tolly Cobbold's Original.

Brian Field, Ridley's managing director, said: "The complementary strengths of the two businesses make a sound base from which further expansion can take place

"The two companies have been close friends for a number of years, with Ridley's bottling some Tolly Cobbold beers, and we believe the time is now right for us to merge brewing resources and expand our cask ale sales through the wider distribution opportunity offered by the Ipswich centre."

The story of how Ridley's brewery came to be established begins with William Ridley, who in 1811 married Maria Dixon, the daughter of a mill owner at Hartford End.

Shortly after their marriage the ownership of the mill passed to both William and Maria. In 1814, Maria gave birth to Thomas Dixon Ridley and it is after him that T D Ridley & Sons Limited is named. Thomas Dixon took on his father's business, expanding the milling side and in 1841 he married Lydia Wells, who came from a brewing family in Chelmsford.

Within a year, Thomas Dixon had built his own brewery downstream from the mill on the bank of the River Chelmer. The business expanded rapidly and by 1882, the year of Thomas Dixon's death, he had already established a chain of inns.

Ridley's has had an association with Essex County Cricket Club for the last 10 years and currently sponsors England and Essex Club Captain, Nasser Hussain.

They are also in their third season of sponsoring the away kit of Colchester United and supply the bar at Layer Road.

WEBLINK: www.ridleys.co.uk

www.familybrewers.co.uk

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