Video: Brewing to return to Cliff Quay

A FAMOUS brewing site in Ipswich is today set for a revival after gathering dust for more than six years.At the time of going to press, the Earl Soham Brewery was on the verge of rubberstamping the lease agreement on the old Tolly Cobbold building in Cliff Quay.

A FAMOUS brewing site in Ipswich is today set for a revival after gathering dust for more than six years.

At the time of going to press, the Earl Soham Brewery was on the verge of rubberstamping the lease agreement on the old Tolly Cobbold building in Cliff Quay.

After 18 months of complex negotiation, the company is now expected to get the go-ahead to install a micro-brewery at the site.

It also plans to re-open the adjacent Brewery Tap pub, which closed in August, and will sell a selection of regional real ales created in the beer factory.

The Tolly Cobbold brewery ceased production there in 2002, marking the end of the historic company after more than 250 years in the area.

John Bjornson, owner of Earl Soham Brewery, today explained what motivated him to restore the brewing tradition at the site.

Most Read

He said: “My idea came when I heard about the Young's brewery in Wandsworth, London. It was the oldest brewery in the UK and it was closed down around two years ago and turned into flats.

“I thought, 'why have we let this happen?' I wanted to re-introduce this tradition in Ipswich.”

The brewers have already invested £70,000 into the operation and have bought a small purpose-built micro-brewery, which it will install in the loading dock of the Tolly Cobbold building. This building will be re-named Cliff Quay Brewery.

But Mr Bjornson said the effort and expense will be worth it. He added: “If we didn't think it was hugely important, we wouldn't have done it. It is a famous brewing site and we are in a huge grain-producing area. And I like it.”

Frank Walsh, who owns St. Jude's in Cardigan Street, the only current brewery in Ipswich town centre, also welcomed the development.

He said: “It's great to hear and I'm very much in favour. There's lots of room for pubs and breweries in Ipswich and we can all sell each other's beers. These are tough times for pubs but if you're a brewer you can make some money.”

Are you pleased about the imminent return of the brewing tradition at the Tolly Cobbold site? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

1723: Harwich Brewery founded by Thomas Cobbold.

1746: Cliff Brewery founded.

1799: Greene King founded.

1840: Original Harwich Brewery closes, replaced by new building.

1876: New Harwich Brewery closes.

1880: Tollemache brothers buy Ipswich Brewery.

1894/6: Cliff Brewery re-built.

1957: Tollemache's Breweries merge with Cobbold & Co.

1961: Tollemache's brewery closed.

1977: Tolly Cobbold taken over by Ellerman Shipping Group.

1983: Tolly Cobbold sold to Barclay Brothers.

1989: Tolly Cobbold sold to Brent Walker, Cliff Brewery closed.

1991: Cliff Brewery re-opens after management buy-out.

2002: Tolly Cobbold merges with Ridley's, Cliff Brewery closes.

2005: Ridley's taken over by Greene King.

2008: Old Tolly Cobbold building set to re-open.