J.W. Lees Brewery
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|Owner(s)||The Lees-Jones Family|
J.W. Lees is a British brewery based in Middleton, Greater Manchester that has produced real ale since 1828. Its permanent brands are J.W. Lees Bitter, first brewed in 1828, John Willie's Premium Ale, Coronation Street Premium Ale (brewed under licence from ITV), Brewer's Dark, Moonraker, Dark Smooth, Extra Smooth, Greengate Smooth, Golden Original Lager, and Bohemia Regent Premium Lager (imported from the Czech Republic), as well as a range of seasonal beers changing throughout the year. The brewery also owns and operates 173 pubs, primarily in the North West of England and North Wales. It is one of the few remaining independent family brewers operating in the UK today. It also owns wine distributor Willoughby's, which supplies wines and spirits to many venues across the UK.
The brewery was formed in 1828 when retired cotton manufacturer John Lees, who had been a major manufacturer of fustians, nankeens and jaconets with mills in Oldham and Manchester, purchased some land in Middleton, Lancashire and built Greengate Brewery, from which the company still operates. The company was renamed J.W. Lees & Co. Brewers, when John Lees' grandson, John William Lees, took over the company in 1876.
The company is still family owned and operated to the present day. When William, Simon, Christina and Michael Lees-Jones joined Richard and Christopher at JW Lees in the 1990s they were the sixth generation from the founder.
In June 2004, Greengate Brewery was included in the television show Most Haunted, and in 2003 HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, visited to celebrate the brewery's 175th anniversary.
Willoughby's Wine Merchants
Willoughby's is the name of J.W. Lees' wines and spirits operation. Running as a separate business, the company itself has its own illustrious heritage stemming back to 1850.
|J.W. Lees Cask Bitter||4%||An amber beer first brewed in 1828.|
|J.W. Lees Extra Smooth Bitter||3.9%||An auburn coloured beer.|
|J.W. Lees Dark Smooth Bitter||3.5%||A dark, mahogany coloured beer.|
|Golden Original Lager||4%||First brewed in 1995. Golden Original Lager was brewed to a new recipe with a new yeast in 2000.|
|Greengate Smooth||3.2%||Pale ale, with an amber colour and topped with a smooth, creamy head.|
|Brewer's Dark||3.5%||Light-coloured, first brewed in 2005.|
|Moonraker Strong Ale||7.5%||A reddish brown beer.|
|Manchester Star Ale||7.3 %||A dark, strong ale.|
|John Willies Bitter||4.5%||Amber-coloured.|
|Coronation Street Premium Ale||4.2%|
|The Governor||4.1%||Amber/auburn beer co-created by Marco Pierre White.|
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J.W. Lees has 173 public houses, primarily in residential areas in the North West of England and North Wales. Most public houses are run by tenant landlords, but some of the larger houses (in particular those that provide pub food) are managed by the brewery. In 2009 J.W. Lees bought ten new pubs from Punch Taverns.