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Tony Halstead explores Thwaites' current range of commemorative ales

A selection of beers to commemorate 200 vintage years are getting the thumbs-up from drinkers across the county - and the country as a whole. It's a case of "cheers" to the one-off Daniel Thwaites Brewery beers, launched to coincide with a host of celebrations marking the company's prestigious bicentenary.

If you drink a pint of Thwaites Double Century, Wainwright, Flying Shuttle or Elma's Pound this year, you'll also be supping to a proud past, as all four beers have been unveiled to mark a wonderful Lancashire brewing tradition.

Thwaites Double Century has been created by head brewer Steve Fielding. With labelling bearing the signature of the Parliamentary Beer of the Year winner, it comes in the wake of an extensive consumer research project.

That work influenced everything from the ale's

name to the branding that will showcase it, and Daniel Thwaites brands marketing manager Lee Williams

believes the findings have already made Double Century

a massive success.

Available as a hand-pulled cask beer in pubs and bars and also to take home in a new embossed bottle, Double Century is a truly commemorative ale, recognising the historic milestone and celebrating a great achievement in UK family brewing.

Daniel Thwaites is also using its 200th-year celebrations to highlight the company's investment in cask ale, with Wainwright ale another beer to be added to the brewery's diverse portfolio.

The name of the beer is linked to the late Alfred Wainwright, born in Blackburn in 1907, when Thwaites was just celebrating 100 years of brewing.

Wainwright went on to become famous for his books detailing coastal and Lakeland walks, which have sold more than two million copies to date.

The tipple has become so popular that it will be available in pubs for a longer period of time than first planned.

Drinkers gave it the thumbs up during a limited two-month period in April and May, which was extended throughout June, but it is now available year round.

Thwaites has also launched another commemorative beer, Flying Shuttle, and has a new label in the pipeline for the winter months.

At the turn of the 19th century, the cotton industry revolutionised Blackburn and in recognition of the

industry that made the town a major industrialised centre,

Thwaites has created Flying Shuttle, a premium ale named

after the invention that itself changed cotton-making from

a labour-intensive cottage industry into an efficient, industrial process.

Many will raise a smile - and a glass - to Elma's Pound, which will be unveiled in late November.

Thwaites' success over 200 years is owed to the unswerving commitment and brewing passion from the Yerburgh (née Thwaites) family.

This was epitomised by Elma Yerburgh (Daniel Thwaites' granddaughter), who was brewery chairman for 58 years, seeing it through both World Wars up to her death in 1946. A great benefactor in the east Lancashire area, she also valued her loyal workforce, particularly at Christmas.

In 1897, Elma began a tradition still maintained, when she gave employees a sovereign for their Christmas bonus.

Over the years, this gesture became known as Elma's Pound. In 2007, Thwaites is proud to dedicate its Christmas beer to the memory of Elma Yerburgh and the contribution she made to the area and the success of the brewery.

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