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Dorset Breweries

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  Hall & Woodhouse

Hall & Woodhouse

Hall and Woodhouse, The Brewery, Blandford St. Mary, Dorset  DT11 9LS
Tel. 01258 452141
email  website


See details of 60 of our pubs by clicking here.


First Gold

Original Ale





Golden Champion

Golden Glory

Blanford Fly

Extra Smooth


Badger Direct

Full tasting details of the ales above as well as information on our bottled and seasonal ales can be viewed online at


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 family.

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 landscape.

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 1900.

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.

.Much 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 in Britain!

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.

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