Hall and Woodhouse, The
Brewery, Blandford St. Mary, Dorset DT11 9LS
Tel. 01258 452141
See details of 60 of our
pubs by clicking here.
Full tasting details of the ales above as
well as information on our bottled and seasonal ales can be viewed
Badger, one of Britain's most respected
independent brewers, has brewed fine distinctive ales for well over 200
years. Today the company is run by the fifth generation of the Woodhouse
The story began not at Blandford St Mary,
the present site of the Badger Brewery, but in the small village of Ansty
a few miles away to the north west in the heart of the rolling Dorset
Charles Hall, born in 1751,
was a farmer's son and in common with tradition was taught both brewing
and farming. Ale was provided by farmers for their workers as a wholesome
refreshment. Charles decided that his future lay in brewing and founded
the Ansty Brewery in 1777.
Production was quickly
expanded when the young brewer secured a contract to supply ale to the
Army encamped on the coast near Weymouth at the time of the Napoleonic
Wars. Longer term business was built up distributing ales to inns and
taverns in the town and villages around the Ansty Brewery. In 1847 Robert
Hall, the founder's son, took George Woodhouse into partnership and George
astutely married one of Charles' granddaughters. The name Hall &
Woodhouse had begun.
In 1875 the now familiar Badger image was adopted as the company
trademark, making it one of the oldest registered marks on record. Since
those early days Hall & Woodhouse has gone from strength to strength.
During the last century small local breweries and their ale houses were
steadily purchased. In 1899 the Badger Brewery was built on the banks of
the River Stour at Blandford St Mary, its present site, for the then
considerable sum of £28,000.
This brewery came into use much more quickly than anticipated due to a
fire at the existing brewery, when equipment was either left to burn or
carried quickly over to the new building. Frank Woodhouse, who lived only
feet away from the brewery, was quick to action to save books and company
papers. Other members of staff and local people quickly joined in to save
casks, machinery and wagons and used the River Stour to reduce the damage.
The fire was reported to be caused by a faulty flue near the hop and cork
room. Trade was not severely disrupted with much of the new building near
completion, but brewing continued at the Ansty brewery for about two
months before the opening of the current brewery buildings on 16th October
During the early to middle
part of this century, and despite the interruption of the crippling
Depression, the company made steady progress and expanded its range of
beers. Successful diversification into wine shipping and the off licence
business also occurred.
In the 1930's Hall & Woodhouse were the first brewer to put Best
Bitter into a can and since then innovation has kept us at the forefront
of regional brewers, supplying the dynamic take-home market.
of the 1950s and 1960s saw the development of other business activities
and responses to changing consumer demands towards lager and responding to
mergers between the national brewers. In 1963 Hall & Woodhouse
acquired a local brewery, Matthews & Co, Gillingham, along with 61
tied houses. The history of the company combines initiative and
opportunity, brewing, packing, bottling, selling and delivering what would
make money at the time. Members of the family and associated members of
staff made some extremely sound decisions to build the business into what
it is today.
In 1977 the company had its Bi-centenary, marked by several celebratory
activities and an exclusive beer that took four months to condition. Poole
pottery tankards were made and given to employees and tenants, which
instantly became collectors items. The Post Office issued a commemorative
first day cover, featuring a Badger stamp, together with a hand-stamp
acknowledging the brewery's 200th anniversary. Tanglefoot established
itself in 1987 by winning a double gold medal at the Brewing Industry
International Awards and was voted by News of the World as the best beer
Today we are proud to be a leading independent family brewer with the
craft of brewing passed on from generation to generation of the Woodhouse
family. We continue to use only the finest ingredients, combined with pure
spring water from our own well, to brew ales of outstanding character at
the Badger Brewery in the heart of Dorset.