J.W. Lees Brewery

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J.W. Lees
Industry Alcoholic beverage
Founded 1828
Founder John Lees
Headquarters Manchester, UK
Key people
Richard Lees-Jones
Christopher Lees-Jones
William Lees-Jones
Simon Lees-Jones
Christina Lees-Jones
Michael Lees-Jones (Head Brewer)
Products Beer
Owner The Lees-Jones Family
Website http://www.jwlees.co.uk

J.W. Lees is a brewery in Middleton, Greater Manchester that has produced real ale since 1828. The brewery owns and operates 173 pubs, mainly in North West England and North Wales. It also owns wine distributor Willoughby's.


John William Lees

The brewery was formed in 1828 when retired cotton manufacturer John Lees purchased land in Middleton, Lancashire and built Greengate Brewery, from which the company still operates.[1] The company was renamed J.W. Lees & Co. Brewers when his grandson, John William Lees, took over the company in 1876.

The company is still family owned and operated. When William, Simon, Christina and Michael Lees-Jones joined Richard and Christopher at J.W. Lees in the 1990s, they were the sixth generation from the founder.

In 2004, Greengate Brewery featured in the television show Most Haunted, and in 2003 HRH Charles, Prince of Wales visited to celebrate the brewery's 175th anniversary.[1]


Manchester Star Ale


Name ABV Notes
J.W. Lees Cask Bitter 4% An amber ale 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% Dark mild, first brewed in 2005.


Name ABV Notes
Moonraker Strong Ale 6.5% 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.
Harvest Ale 11.5% A barley wine, released in vintages.

In addition, J.W. Lees brews Ansells Mild and Best Bitter for Carlsberg.[citation needed]

Public houses[edit]

A J.W. Lees pub in Middleton

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.

Willoughby's Wine Merchants[edit]

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.


  1. ^ a b Scheerhout, John (5 Jun 2013). "Breweries and beer are the toast of the town – The Way We Were at JW Lees Brewery". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 14 January 2014. 

External links[edit]