Long brewery tradition to end
TIME has been called for the final time at Tolly Cobbold.After a long and illustrious history stretching back more than 250 years the last pint is to be brewed at the Ipswich-based business and the pumps are to finally run dry.
TIME has been called for the final time at Tolly Cobbold.
After a long and illustrious history stretching back more than 250 years the last pint is to be brewed at the Ipswich-based business and the pumps are to finally run dry.
It is a sad occasion for an institution that has made the town its home since 1746 and established itself as one of the biggest names to be associated with this corner of Suffolk.
Generation after generation of beer and ale drinkers have formed a loyal affection with the brewery and made the produce of Tolly Cobbold their drinks of choice.
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It was in 1723 that the roots of the business Ipswich knows today were planted. Thomas Cobbold began brewing in Harwich but shipped water from Holy Wells in Ipswich because the Essex water was too salty.
Twenty-three years later the business transferred to Cliff Brewery, in Ipswich, where it has remained to the present day.
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The early days of the brewery are a far cry from the business that is calling last orders today. It has grown and expanded continuously over the years into the dominant beer producer it is today.
It was not until 25 years ago that the brewery adopted the name Tolly Cobbold, when Cobbold Brewery merged with Tollemache's Brewery, which was then based at Ipswich Brewery.
Four years later, in 1959, all business moved to the Cliff Brewery and Ipswich Brewery, beside Upper Brook Street, closed and was subsequently demolished.
In the following decade Tolly Cobbold's production and profits escalated but as it entered the eighties the future of Ipswich's favourite brewery began to look shaky.
Bob Wales and Brian Cowie were both brought on board, as finance director and sales and marketing director respectively. The pair were devoted their lives to the company and were to be instrumental in being its saviours when troubled times hit.
The crossroads was reached when the business was plunged into uncertainty after Tolly Cobbold was swallowed by the Brent Walker leisure group. Both Patrick Cobbold and Lord Tollemache left the company and ended centuries of local family involvement in the firm.
Cliff Brewery was closed as the new company in charge transferred the brewing of its beers to Hartlepool and the fight to secure its future began in earnest.
A year later Bob and Brian, united with the brewery's workforce, staged a successful management buy-out and Ipswich business reopened. It was their love for the company and their inspirational drive which resurrected the brewery and gave renewed hope.
In 1992 they made another stand when Sir John Harvey-Jones featured the brewery on his Troubleshooter programme and advised the two joint managing directors to pack up brewing and concentrate on the profitable distribution business.
Bob and Brian, in an act of defiance, brought out Tollyshooter bitter and secured the brewery a future which has lasted until today.
Tolly Cobbold, throughout its history, has remained close to the hearts of Ipswich, its residents and beer drinkers alike.
In name and stature it established itself as a business of which everyone could be proud and though its loss will be greeted by sadness and disappointed, the name Tolly Cobbold will continue to live on in history.