2024 is an important year for Bateman’s Brewery, one of the few completely independent family breweries in England. 150 years ago the company was established at Wainfleet, Lincolnshire, where it continues to produce its range of fine ales and beers.
In 1874, when George Bateman first started his business in what was then a rented brewery, Disraeli was prime minister and there was a royal wedding between the Duke of Edinburgh married the Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia.
A year earlier the Liberal Party had become embroiled in a scandal relating to the use of Post Office funds.
Whilst some things never change, Bateman’s Brewery, over the last 150 years, has evolved, developed and gone from strength-to-strength – from kitchen table brewing to producing 1.76 million pints a year (10,000 hectolitres), running 50 pubs and a free trade network across Lincolnshire, the East Midlands and Norfolk.
The story of Bateman’s Brewery starts with George Bateman and his wife, Susannah, who were originally farmers in a nearby village, Friskney.
Susannah would brew beer whilst making bread, although when they decided to take on the lease of the brewery at Wainfleet, neither George or Susannah were experienced brewers. But, with the help of the previous brewer, Edwin Crowe, he helped them hone their skills before he retired.
Over the years the company has survived the hardships of two World Wars, recessions, the keg beer revolution, a family dispute and, more recently, the Covid 19 pandemic, but the company is now in a strong position as it looks forward to welcoming the fifth generation of the family into the business.
Celebrations marking this significant milestone in the history of the company are planned for 2024, which includes the development of their brand identity. Working with Staffordshire-based branding agency, PHd, a strong recognisable new identity has been created, which draws on the company’s brewing heritage, retaining the slogan: ‘Craft Brewer’s since 1874’.
Whilst heritage and history is important to the company, the directors wanted to position the brewery as a dynamic, forward-looking business ready for the next phase of growth. The brewery’s key four brands were the first to incorporate the new branding: XB, Triple XB, ‘Yella Belly’ Gold and the new Five Generations (5G), along with all merchandising and POS collateral.
Celebrations, events and promotions are planned to mark this landmark year, include the new branding and a new cask beer, Five Generations (5G), a 4.2% ABV beer brewed with only English hops; Harlequin, Fuggles and Olicana and local malts. There is also a limited edition bottled beer – ‘Tradition with Ambition’, a 7.8% ABV beer that was brewed over 10 years ago and has been maturing in bottle, ready to celebrate the 150th anniversary. ‘Tradition with Ambition’ is also the theme running through Batemans new marketing strategy.
Commenting on this celebratory year, Jaclyn Bateman said: “We are very proud of our past and are looking forward to future challenges and successes: ‘Tradition with Ambition.’”
The company’s new brewer, Buster Grant, is in the process of recommissioning the Victorian Brewhouse, which has not been used for over twenty years. The brewhouse will be used for collaboration brews with Blue Monkey and Buxton Brewery, who are respectively planning their fifteenth year anniversary.
The majority of UK family businesses don’t progress beyond the second generation’s involvement, but for Bateman’s the foundations are in place for this company to be looking forward to the family still being at the helm in 2074, when it will be celebrating 200 years in business.