Newsome Baxter, Thornton-le-Moor Brewery, Thornton-le-Moor, North Yorkshire.
Merged with Dover & Co. of Newcastle-on-Tyne 1897 to form Dover & Newsome Baxter Ltd.
Acquired by James Calder & Co. (Brewers) Ltd. with 6 tied houses 1908.
The Beer of the Future
Thornton le Moor is a village of 425 souls between Northallerton and Thirsk in North Yorkshire. An interesting piece in the Darlington and Stockton Times tells us there once was a brewery there producing a bottled beer called the ‘Beer of the Future’.
The brewery in the village was started in 1737 by William Sadler in the Black Swan Inn and in 1810 the brewery swapped sides of Main Street to Brewery House. Herbert Newsome Baxter a maltster from Sheffield bought the business in 1851 for £1,335. He clearly saw an opportunity in this out-of-the-way place.
Thornton is on the side of geological ridge and he knew the water was good for brewing. He also knew the fields around were good for growing barley. South Otterington station had opened on the East Coast mainline nearby and the two coaching roads could carry his beer to Northallerton and even to Middlesbrough, where the first thirsty blast furnaces of the ironopolis were being lit.
The brewery grew to become the village’s major employer with over 50 employees and it acquired a chain of pubs. The brewery pumped water to peoples’ homes and its gas lit the village school and street. Mr Baxter brewed a Strong Mild and an Extra Strong Mild, but his signature beer was known as “BOF” – Beer of the Future. It was paler and more bitter than his other brews. People in London took a liking to it and it was held in high repute by the medical profession for its tonic and stomach properties and delicacy of flavour.
In 1887, Newsome’s son, William doubled the size of the brewery to the designs of architects Hepper and Fisher of Castlegate, York. He added a 25 quarter brewhouse and a 90ft tower, complete with clock and decorated with ornamental brickwork.
It was so noticeably tall that as it was going up, the Archbishop of York passed in a train a mile away, and said: “Dear me, I wasn’t aware of any such church tower being built in this part of the diocese.” William died in 1892 leaving the brewery in trust to his two teenage sons. The boys fell out and the head brewer, John Metcalfe, left Brewery House to set up the Star Brewery directly opposite in direct competition. In 1897, the ailing business was bought by Joseph Alston Dover, a Newcastle ale and spirit merchant and then it passed to Archibald Arrol of Alloa in 1901. Brewing ceased in Thornton in 1909, although mineral water bottling continued until 1934. The brewery tower came down in 1941 for fear it might be used by German pilots as a prominent landmark.
Keith Osbourne has found some beer labels and advertising material and does any reader know any more about the Beer of the Future which was clearly ahead of its time.