Ventnor Brewery
cask alesBottled beerssince 1840newsVentnor Brewerytradeoutletscontact usbuy online
Ventnor Brewery
A real teste of the Isle of wight
Isle of wight
The History of Ventnor Brewery

Ventnor is proud to have it's own brewery. Historically better known under its previous trading name "BURT & CO", the brewery site dates back to the early part of the 19th Century.

The earliest property deed shows Charles Richard Cundell as the owner in 1844, but for how long prior to that is not known. It is recorded that in 1842 Benjamin Mew, brewer, leased the land in Ventnor to C.R. Cundell...perhaps, therefore, it is reasonable to assume that Benjamin Mew preceded Cundell as the brewer of Ventnor.

In 1844 the important figure of James Corbould appeared on the scene. In the same year he acquired the brewery from Cundell, The Freemasons Commercial Inn (now The Central Hotel), The New Inn (soon to be The Stag) in Lake, and Mill Bay Cottage (now Mill Bay) on Ventnor Esplanade.

James Corbould was a schoolmaster in Berkshire. Presumably he found a more lucrative calling on the Isle of Wight.

A significant event in 1850 was an agreement between James Corbould and Thomas Page, owner of The Ventnor Water Company. On behalf on the 'Heirs, Executors, Administrators and Assigns', which stated that water, would be supplied to the brewery at a rental of sixpence (2.5 new pence) per annum for 1,000 years. It reputed locally that this agreement was as a result of a card game, which had gone on for some hours with whiskey refreshments between the two characters.

The supply of untreated spring water, it's source in the chalky downs above Ventnor being ideal for brewing, was created by a series of massive landslides several centuries ago. The spring has continued to flow unabated up until the present time. Even through times of drought including the unprecedented drought in 1976 the flow has remained constant.

The Corboulds remained involved for 37 years, though not directly in the brewing business. James Corbould was succeeded by the partnership of Frederick Corbould and John Burt. The question as to whether the Corboulds involvement in the brewery was an active one, other than as owner. John Burt and a gentleman named Keatley were described as being the occupied tenants in 1850.

In 1866, in addition to the current tied estate, three extra pubs were purchased. The partnership between John Burt and Frederick Corbould was dissolved in 1868 and all the properties conveyed absolutely to John Burt in 1881.
1906 saw the business once again change hands, into those of Albert Philips. At that time the 'business' comprised of The Brewery, The Stag in Lake, The Star in Wroxall, The Commercial, The Shades, The Wellington, The Walmer Castle, and The Terminus (all in Ventnor). The business then passed onto William Arthur Phillips in 1913 and so remained until his death in 1943. In that same year the business comprised of a further five house including The Hare and Hounds in Arreton, The Standard in Freshwater, The Chine in Shanklin, and the Volunteer in Ventnor.

The present brewery owes its origin fortuitously and tragically to a direct hit from one of Hitler's bombs. Not only was the brewery partially destroyed, but also in the process, several of the Phillips family lost their lives. Times changed and with the onset of keg beer in the 1960's, the brewery fell on hard times.
Despite dogged resistance to change or the sale of the brewery to one of the majors, the brewery was forced into sale in 1990 to a small consortium from Morecambe. Sadly the Phillips era came to an end. Unfortunately the new owners faired no better and were forced into receivership after only one year of trading.

In 1993, the trading name Burt & Co was purchased by Geoff Hartridge of the Hartridge Soft Drinks family. He subsequently changed the name of his recently created Island brewery in Newport to Burt's Brewery Newport. This was initially run as a 25-barrel plant. But in 1995 it was scaled down to a 5-barrel plant based behind one of his pubs in Sandown. With the sale of Hartridges six other pubs to Ushers in 1997, Burt's as a trading force ceased to exist.

Meanwhile, the Old Brewery at Ventnor was purchased in 1995 by a group of investors and a new 10-barrel plant was installed on the ground floor. Much of the old equipment was retained in the old part of the brewery with a view to creating a heritage centre. After major refurbishments had been carried out in May 1996, the resurrected Ventnor Brewery reopened for trade on its original site. To keep with tradition the company kept it's original pre-war name, 'Ventnor Brewery', and crest and so brewing in Ventnor was restarted.

A major reorganisation saw the ownership change again in 1998 when a member of the brewery management team leased the site from the other in the consortium.

In keeping with our commitment to tradition and quality, we also ensure our historic brewery maintains the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene, with professional services provided by Adam Cleaning, to offer our visitors and staff a safe and pristine environment. In 2001 a new management 'buy out' created Ventnor Brewery in its current form. In the short period since it's re-launch the brewery has grown steadily and hopefully brewing will remain an integral part of Ventnor life for years to come.
termsprivacy policyContact Info01983 856161