Joseph Holt's Brewery

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Joseph Holt Ltd
Industry Brewing
Founded 1849
Founder Joseph Holt
Headquarters Manchester, England
Area served
North West England
Products Beer

Joseph Holt is a brewery in Manchester, England founded in 1849. Holts claim to be the only brewery still selling beer in 54 gallon hogshead barrels.

Joseph Holt operates around 130 houses including traditional pubs, restaurants and hotels.


Joseph Holt, the son of a weaver,[1] was born in 1813 in Unsworth, a textile village near Bury. He worked as a carter at Harrison's Strangeways Brewery. In 1849 he married Catherine Parry, who helped finance a small brewery behind a pub on Oak Street, Manchester.[1]

In 1860, he purchased the brewery site on Empire Street, Cheetham.[1] His reputation in Manchester endures; in 2007, readers of the Manchester Evening News voted him "People's Champion" in the "Greatest ever Business Leaders" awards.[2] In 1882, Joseph passed control of the brewery to his son Edward, by which time he had established a chain of 20 public houses. Edward Holt was knighted and was a Lord Mayor of Manchester in 1908. He died in 1928 and the company passed to his son, Edward; it is still in the hands of the same family.[1]

For more than thirty years, Peter Kershaw, a former rackets and real tennis champion and a notoriously frugal man, was chairman of the brewery.[3] His son, Richard Kershaw, the great grandson of the founder,[1] joined him on the board in 1980 and, since the death of his father in 2000,[3] is the chief executive.

In 2007, there were 127 Holt's pubs in Greater Manchester.[1]


Holt's Bitter

Holt's public houses offer a selection of Holt's draught, bottled and canned beers.

  • Joseph Holt's Bitter
  • Joseph Holt's Mild
  • Joseph Holt's Smooth (nitrokeg bitter)
  • Joseph Holt's Black (nitrokeg mild)
  • Joseph Holt's IPA
  • Joseph Holt's Two Hoots
  • Joseph Holt's Humdinger
  • Joseph Holt's Crystal
  • Joseph Holt's Crystal Cold
  • Joseph Holt's Crystal Gold
  • Joseph Holt's Diamond
  • Humdinger
  • 1849
  • Touchwood
  • Maple Moon
  • Sixex
  • Thunderholt
  • Fifth Sense
  • Two Hoots (4.2 ABV)
  • Bitter
  • Maple Gold
  • Holt's Bitter
  • Holtenbrau

Holt's is one of only a few remaining UK breweries able to supply their beers in hogsheads,[4] the largest barrel size, carrying 432 pints (54 gallons) and weighing roughly 660 lbs when full.

Charitable work[edit]

The company has supported the Christie Hospital since the early years of the 20th century. Sir Edward Holt raised £20,000 to start the Holt Radium Institute. In 1997 Lady Holt bequeathed more than £8 million to the Christie.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Moore, Sheryl (18 April 2006). "Joseph Holt". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  2. ^ "Free Holt's beer with the M.E.N". Manchester Evening News. 4 October 2007. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Peter Kershaw". The Daily Telegraph. 15 July 2000. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Anon. "Joseph Holt Brewery, Manchester, United Kingdom". Net Resources International. Retrieved 2 October 2010. 

External links[edit]