SP7559 : Carlsberg Brewery

taken 8 months ago, near to Northampton, Northamptonshire, Great Britain

This is 1 of 2 images, with title Carlsberg Brewery in this square
Carlsberg Brewery
Carlsberg Brewery
Lovers of real ale might regard this vast lager factory on the banks of the River Nene as the heart of darkness - not so much because its products are not generally to their taste, but because of the history here of corporate might extinguishing a fine local product in order to maximise profits. Phipps brewery opened on this site in 1817, supplementing an existing brewery in Towcester, and by the early twentieth century all the company's production was based here. In 1960 Phipps was taken over by Watney Mann, a London brewer whose Red Barrel keg bitter is still remembered as the nadir of British beer production. Red Barrel was brewed here, initially alongside the traditional beers, but in 1968 all real ale production was ended in order to concentrate on keg bitters. Keg beers (where there is no secondary fermentation in the cask) were easier and cheaper to produce and required no special skill on the part of pub landlords - but this was achieved at the expense of flavour. Nevertheless, Red Barrel was heavily marketed and, because most pubs were then owned by the major brewers, real ale became increasingly hard to find. This was especially true in Northamptonshire where all the former Phipps pubs had become Watneys outlets.

At the same time, however, British beer drinking tastes were changing. Partly perhaps because of the poor quality bitters on offer, and possibly the influence of foreign holidays, lager style beers were becoming fashionable. In 1974 the Northampton plant underwent another transformation, now concentrating on the production of lager. Watney Mann had formed a partnership with a Danish brewer and the product was branded Carlsberg. Most of the original brewery was demolished.

The happy ending to this rather dismal story is that, thanks largely to the efforts of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), traditional ales have seen a massive revival in recent years and now represent one of the few bright spots in a generally stagnant beer market. This has led to the reappearance of the old Phipps name which is now brewed on a site close to Carlsberg and is available in a number of local pubs.
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Grid Square
SP7559, 110 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Monday, 27 November, 2017   (more nearby)
Wednesday, 29 November, 2017
Geographical Context
Primary Subject of Photo
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 7536 5978 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:13.8643N 0:53.8807W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SP 7545 5974
View Direction
West-northwest (about 292 degrees)
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Image Type (about): geograph 
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