Hanseatic Brewery, Hanseatic Trading, Manor House, Hambleton, Rutland
Jim Pryor, with a brewing career which included, Bass, Bentleys, Fremlins, Courage and lastly Ruddles, became involved with setting up small breweries in Russia. This gave him the idea of reviving an historical product, stout which had been brewed for the Russian and Baltic trade. Perhaps the most famous example being Courage Imperial Russian Stout, brewed with a gravity of 10% to stand the journey.
In 1993, on retirement, he set up a small brew plant at his home in Oakham. Initially, he planned to export the beers and actually got as far as opening a shop in Volgograd. Difficulties with the Russian economy and growing interest in stouts and porters in the UK lead to him producing Black Russian a bottle- conditioned stout for Oddbins. However, his limited capacity meant that in 1996, production was transferred to McMullen & Sons Ltd in Hertford.
The beer used pale ale, brown, crystal and black malts with Fuggles and Goldings whole hops. It was 4.8% abv, with a strong bitterness of 35-40 units. It was stored in tanks for 2 to 3 weeks, then dry hopped before bottling. The secondary yeast in bottle would allow the beer to develop over 6 months. He was also producing a Bottle Conditioned Ale at 4.5% and Oddbins IPA 4.8%, all brewed by McMullen & Sons Ltd.