Brewing in Burton upon Trent tells the story of the Brewing Capital of the World.
Back in the twelfth century the Abbots of Burton began to produce beer; the dissolution of the Abbey in the sixteenth century saw inns and alehouses appear, many selling beer brewed on site.
The first recognisable brewery was Benjamin Printon's, established on Horninglow Street in around 1708. By 1780 there were thirteen, many exporting their ale to the Baltic and all using the water taken from wells deep under the town. By the 1820s a new market had opened up - India: Allsopp's, Bass and Salt's quickly began to export India Pale Ale.
The Trent & Mersey Canal, built in 1774-75, allowed further expansion, but it was the coming of the railway in 1839 that led to massive growth - by 1888 there were thirty-one breweries employing over 8,000 men producing over three million barrels per annum.
The twentieth century saw bankruptcies and mergers, and the formation of giants Bass Charrington Ltd, Allied Breweries Ltd and Marston, Thompson & Evershed Ltd. Today Burton still has a vibrant industry - Marston's, Molson Coors and the smaller concerns Burton Bridge, Tower, Heritage, Black Hole, Gates, Old Cottage and the newest addition Burton Town.
Ian Webster worked in Ind Coope's laboratory in the 1990s while his father, John, worked as a security guard and witnessed the removal of the Ind Coope brand. He is now Senior Biomedical Scientist at Burton's Queen's Hospital and a freelance journalist.