Tetley’s returns home to Leeds with new beer launch

By James Beeson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Heritage brew:  No 3 Pale Ale will be brewed at the Leeds Brewery in the city
Heritage brew: No 3 Pale Ale will be brewed at the Leeds Brewery in the city
Iconic Yorkshire beer brand Tetley’s is to be brewed in Leeds for the first time in nearly seven years, it has been announced.

The Carlsberg-owned brewery’s latest release, No 3 Pale Ale, will be brewed at the Leeds Brewery in the city, and is inspired by an historic recipe from the Tetley’s beer archive, which spans back over 200 years.

The beer will be brewed at the Leeds Brewery in partnership with Tetley’s brewmasters, and will initially be available within the city and surrounding areas, with the view to nationwide distribution in the future.

No 3 Pale Ale has an ABV of 4.2% and uses entirely English malt and hops, along with Tetley’s signature unique double yeast strain to create the brand’s distinctive taste. 

The launch coincides with a whole new brand refresh and redesign for Tetley’s (undertaken by a local Leeds design agency), which was recently described​ by Carlsberg’s UK vice-president of marketing Liam Newton as “a bit of a sleeping giant”.

Speaking at the launch of the beer in Leeds yesterday (10 May), Newton said there remained “a lot of latent affection” for the Tetley’s brand, and explained that the decision to brew the beer in Leeds was crucial to how it would be received by the public.

“There is a lot of latent affection and goodwill for this brand,” he said. “We need to see if we can light the fire in this local area and if that is successful we want to do that on a broader basis. For me it is critically important the beer is brewed in Leeds and that is why we have taken this decision to partner with Leeds Brewery on it.”

Local provenance

Newton also compared the revamp of Tetley’s to the recent relaunch of the London Fields Brewery, which was bought by Carlsberg in July 2017, and was officially unveiled​ at this year’s Craft Beer Rising Festival.

“Local provenance and local craft is a really big trend we are seeing,” he said, “We are doing a lot more of that and with London Fields, which we are currently rolling out, we are focusing on that E8 postcode.”

Newton denied that this focus on local provenance was compromised by the ownership of Tetley’s and London Fields by Carlsberg, and insisted the company was not trying to mislead consumers.

“I don’t think that local connection is compromised by Carlsberg at all,” he said. “Why shouldn’t we be doing things locally as well as nationally and internationally? If you look at our branding you will see we are only referencing Leeds on the beers that are made here because otherwise that is misleading. We are focusing on No 3 in this particular area and that beer is all about local provenance.”

Leeds brewery founder Sam Moss described his delight at being asked to help recreate the historic Tetley’s brew.

“As passionate brewers, when we were approached with the opportunity of attempting to create a beer inspired by a 150-year old recipe from Tetley’s archives in Leeds, it was a challenge our brew team were delighted to accept,” he said. “It’s been an exciting process and we are thrilled not only with the quality and the flavour of the beer, but also how faithful we’ve managed to remain to the original recipe.”

'Not just a marketing exercise'

“It was very important to us that this was not just a marketing exercise,” Moss continued. “Obviously, everything is a marketing exercise to an extent, but we saw this as a genuine, really exciting project to be a part of, delving into 180 years of brewing heritage and history.”

“The recipe we have based this beer on was originally brewed between 1848 and 1868. We don’t know whether it was a core part of Tetley’s range but we do know that it was important enough to have been recorded in the brewery’s archives. Joshua Tetley himself died in 1859, so there is every chance he would have drunk the very beer this recipe is based upon.”

Joshua Tetley & Son was founded in 1822 and was the biggest brewery in Leeds until the closure of the Tetley’s plant in 2011.

Production of the brewery’s flagship Tetley Bitter will continue to be concentrated at Bank’s brewery in Wolverhampton, but a number of future beers are planned at the Leeds Brewery, focusing on recreating recipes from the company archives.

Emily Hudson, brand manager for Tetley’s, added: “No 3 Pale Ale and Tetley’s new visual identity marks the start of an exciting new chapter for the brand.

“As one of Britain’s oldest and best-loved ales, we recognise the affection and support for Tetley’s that still lives on across the country, particularly in Yorkshire and the brand’s home city of Leeds.

“With this in mind, we felt it was a fantastic opportunity to team up with Leeds brewery – one of the region’s leading brewers – to recreate the recipe within a mile of where it would have originally been brewed 150 years ago.”  

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