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Last drops of Tolly in town

PUBLISHED: 23:27 24 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:42 03 March 2010

REAL ale drinkers in Ipswich are now downing some of the last pints of Tolly Cobbold beer to be brewed in the town.

It is the end of an era for Tolly beer as we know it and the last pints of IPA have now been brewed and distributed to pubs around the county.

By Jessica Nicholls

REAL ale drinkers in Ipswich are now downing some of the last pints of Tolly Cobbold beer to be brewed in the town.

It is the end of an era for Tolly beer as we know it and the last pints of IPA have now been brewed and distributed to pubs.

The last 50 barrels of the traditional ale were brewed around two weeks ago, the final link in the chain of the merger with Chelmsford-based Ridley & Sons Limited.

It ends a 256-year history of brewing in Ipswich – and a long fight to keep the Tolly brewery going.

In the 1980s the future of the Ipswich brewery began to look shaky. In 1989 the group was swallowed up by Brent Walker Leisure Group. Patrick Cobbold and Lord Tollemache both left the company, ending centuries of local family involvement in the firm. The Cliff Brewery was closed and brewing transferred to Hartlepool. But the Ipswich operation reopened when Bob Wales, the then finance director, and Brian Cowie, sales and marketing director, staged a successful management buy-out. However, in 1992 the brewery featured on Sir John Harvey-Jones's Troubleshooter TV programme advising the two joint managing directors to pack up brewing and concentrate on distribution.

In an act of defiance, they brought out Tollyshooter bitter instead.

In July this year, The Evening Star revealed that Tolly Cobbold was to merge with Ridley & Sons and brewing would cease in the town.

Brewing will now take place in Chelmsford, but the Tolly name will live on with the continuation of Tolly Original.

Bob Wales said the brewing of the final beers passed very quietly. He said: "People are getting on with other things now and the business is still going on.

"Brewing was a very small part of our business and the rest is still running. The brewery was originally closed in 1989 and in a way it was a kind of déjà vu for us."

Weblink

www.ridleys.co.uk

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