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Linclonshire Breweries

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Batemans

Batemans Brewery

CONTACT US
George Bateman & Son Ltd, Salem Bridge Brewery, Wainfleet, Lincolnshire  PE24 4JE
Tel. 01754 880317  Fax. 01754 880939  e-mail jaclynbateman@bateman.co.uk website  www.bateman.co.uk

OUR PUBS  Click here for details of our pubs.

OUR CASK BEERS

Batemans XB

Batemans DM

Batemans Valiant

Batemans Salem Porter

Batemans XXXB

XB Best Bitter  ABV 3.7%
A distinctive well balanced bitter, with a refreshing dry bitterness on the palate and pleasing hoppy finish.

Dark Mild  ABV  3.0%
A creamy mild with a fruity palate, some roast character and a hoppy finish.

Valiant  ABV  4.2%
OG 1042 Colour EBC 18-22 Bitterness EBU 32 Hops Styrian & Challenger.
Tasting Notes - a delicious golden beer,clean, crisp & zesty.

Salem Porter  ABV  4.7%
A porter with a dry roast, nutty palate and rich malty after-taste. Award winner at the 1997 Great British Winter Beer Festival.

XXXB  ABV  4.8%
Superb strong bitter, with a complex palate, consisting of a delicate aroma of hops delightfully balanced by a prominent malty character.

OUR HISTORY

History in the words of the chairmen - As you will see below, we have a very full history.

George Bateman, Chairman  1874 - 1921

I am the grandfather of the present Chairman both with the Christian name of George. In 1874 my wife Suzanna and I decided to sell our farm in the nearby village of Friskney and rent a small brewery in Wainfleet. For £505 10s (equivalent to £30,000 in today's terms) we purchased the brewery equipment from Edwin Crowe and a year later, with some financial difficulty, we bought out the lease for £800.
Apart from the beer Suzanna would brew in our kitchen in Friskney while baking the bread for us to consume after a hard day on the land neither of us very much knowledge on either brewing or the business of running a brewery.
Fortunately Edwin Crowe passed on all he knew before he retired. His brewer was not ready for retirement and despite being blind, some say from excess drink (not that I am one to spread rumours), stayed with us for several more years.
The brewer, unfortunately I cannot remember his name but for now we will call him Mr. Maltshovel, had an acute sense of smell and taste, hardly surprising after all the years of practice his taste buds had had. Mr. Maltshovel the temperature by sticking his elbow into the fermenting vessel.
The original brewery was based just by the railway, however in 1880 I decided we had enough money to buy a Georgian house that had come on the market about 200 yards away, Salem House. Suzanna and I moved in and built a brewery in the coach houses. We not only brewed beer but also bottled whiskey, rum and gin. Suzanna also went back to baking bread which we sold with the beer to supplement our income.
Fortunately Suzanna was a very good cook. On Fair Day, which was held twice a year, the farmers would come to Salem House to pay for the beer their workers had consumed the previous six months. It was very common for this payment to not be paid in cash, but with meat and potatoes. Once payment had been made, we would invite the farmers into our kitchen for a massive feast. This tradition continued until 1930.


Harry Bateman, Chairman  1921 - 1970

I entered after leaving school in 1894 and look over the business in 1921 upon the death of my father. In the 1920's and 30's it was very depressed times for beer consumption due to strict regulations imposed during the First World War and severe taxes.

At one point there was such a slump in beer sales that I had to lay off my entire work force. However, I was so upset in seeing them wondering round Wainfleet with nothing to do that I invited them back. I determined to find them work in the brewery somehow.

Having made this move I decided I had no choice but to increase the size of the brewery so bought the buildings across the lane from Salem House and installed a bottling plant. With these buildings there was also a windmill, which had been used for grinding corn for bread and horse feed. Unfortunately the sails were in such desperate need to repair that I decided it was cheaper to remove them. Little did I release then what a landmark the windmill would become for Batemans Brewery.

For my 21st birthday my father had given me a pub which we would delivered to by horse and dray. In the 1920's we decided it was time to start purchasing some more. Despite finance being difficult, seems the story of our lives so far, I acquired a group of pubs that everybody else thought were worthless. An auctioneer friend of mine from Boston decided I had gone completely mad and said I should give up brewing and join him especially as I now had a young family to support. My father had taught me many things but one of the best things both my parents installed in me was not to give up so I replied, "If the ship is going down I am going down with her".

In 1927 I was, in my own way a very excited man, my first son had been born, George. The best way I knew how to celebrate this day was to buy somewhere that would be able to sell Batemans beer. I decided to purchase the Vine Hotel in Skegness.

Skegness, then, seem to be coming a prosperous seaside town. I decided to build another hotel in Skegness. The County Hotel was built on the site where Billy Butlin had had a skittle alley. In 1935 my three children helped lay the Foundation Stone.

Business was still not easy. However, Billy Butlin decided to build his first Butlin's Holiday Camp in Skegness with of course some bar facilities. On a few occasions had to opportunity to have a few pints of Batemans beer with Billy, which he thoroughly enjoyed, he gave us the license for these bars. During the Second World War the holiday camp became a Navel Station known as H.M.S. Royal Arthur which was very profitable for us.

In 1947, to my great relief a proper main water system was introduced into Wainfleet. Originally the water had been pumped by hand from the River Haven which runs next to the brewery. This water was found to be beneficial to the balanced flavour of our beers. However in the mid 1930's, unfortunately, the water became so polluted we decided it was not a good idea to continue using it so water had to be brought by lorry from nearest suitable supplier seven miles away.

In 1950 I was delighted that George decided to join me in the Brewery.


George G Bateman, Chairman  1970 - 2007

I joined my father at the brewery in 1950 as Executive Director in charge of the commercial side of the brewery. I had trained as a brewer at Green's Brewery in Luton and Kelsey's of Tunbridge Wells, unfortunately neither brewery are around today.
After my training I was offered a job as Managing Director of a new brewery which was being built near Grantham, Lincolnshire. However, my roots were strongly embedded in Batemans Brewery and I also did not want to enter any arrangement, which did not include my brother
Until 1953, fermentation had taken place in the same cask in which it went out into the trade. The casks were stacked on pine troughs in such a way that the fermenting beer would flow out of the bung hole and down the belly of the cask. It was then topped up by a can from the trough at the peak of fermentation every two hours, day and night. The horror of this became apparent in the summer as this took place in ground floor room where the heat of the atmosphere and fermentation would take the temperature up to 25C. To try and keep the rooms as cool as possible, every Spring I would spend a day white washing the slates. Despite all the effort we were making to try and keep the temperature of the beer down in the summer things were not looking good. Our own survival was to invest in a stainless steel fermenting vessel, which we did.
I also became very aware that if we were not careful we could have a wild yeast problem as we had several fruit trees round the brewery. I therefore organised for these to be chopped down including, much to my father's horror, a find old pear tree that was on the brewery wall.
In 1957 we had 70 pub but with a bit of wheeling and dealing I managed to purchase several run-down pubs north of Boston, together with a few in Boston as sweeteners. 29 houses cost £50,000, which nowadays does not sound much; however, in 1957 it was almost impossible to borrow that amount of money due to the Government's very strict credit squeeze. I shall always be indebted to an anonymous friend in the trade who gave us temporary assistance to help with the finance.
Before the Second World War perpendicular drinking was considered one of the deadlier sins, so most of these pubs had no counters; there had also been a law that a pub could not have a full licence if it did not have two rooms. After purchasing the 29 pubs I spent most of the next 8 years in and out of court obtaining full licences and planning permission to upgrade them.
The 1960's saw a lot of changes in a lot of ways including beer. There suddenly became a trend towards keg beers and the future for cask ales looked very bleak. We had no option but to try build a 'Heath Robinson' keg washer and filler. In our pubs the Brewery Conditioned beer, keg beer, was rapidly growing and our Cask Conditioned beer was on the decline. The decline was so drastic that many of our pubs were being fitted quarter pint pumps in place of the half-pint beer engines.
As the 60's progressed into the 70's, more and more Brewery Conditioned Beer was being called for. It began to look as if the sun may set at the brewery; we could not afford the great investment needed for brewing equipment for this type of beer. Then a knight in shining armour appeared, yet again, in the form of CAMRA, The Campaign for Real Ale.
Quite suddenly and dramatically, the old beer engines for Cask Conditioned Beer became an essential piece of equipment in all our pubs. The foaming head of Batemans Good Honest Ales was again being poured.
I met my future wife Pat while on holiday in Italy. She was from Kingston in Surrey, which in those days took a lot longer to get to than it does now. Her mother would invite me for Sunday lunch and tea, after which I would drive back to Wainfleet, get back about midnight and go straight into the brewery to brew. I was delighted when Pat agreed to marry me became a working member of the brewery.
Jaclyn my eldest daughter joined the Company in 1983 after she had finished her nurses training and had spent some time in Hong Kong. Stuart, my son, joined in 1987 after completing 3 years training with Mansfield Brewery.
A flourishing family concern, one would think, but in 1985 I had to face the hardest challenge of my life. My motto ' Death or Glory' was put to the test for the next two years.
The shares of the brewery were divided between myself 40%, my brother 40% and my sister 20%. My father had been a very wise man and being his own flesh and blood, he thought this was the fairest way of dividing the shares. How wrong could he have been?
For a while there had been a simmering pot then in March 1985 it boiled over. My brother, John and sister Helen announced that they wanted to put the Brewery up for sale to the highest bidder. I was devastated along with Pat, Jaclyn and Stuart. I had to get my thinking cap on quickly, as I know it would not be long before rumours started to spread.
We managed to put off that day for a while, however the day arrived and I still had not found a solution. Merchant Banks were becoming involved and I had no choice but to tell my staff and tenants followed by the press of what was happening.
The Brewery became overrun with hordes of prospective buyers and their back-up accountants. I had to answer numerous questions and watch while they went through our accounts with a fine toothcomb. The staff and tenants were obviously concerned for their futures and felt great resentment that their life of working in a happy family atmosphere was being turned up side down.
I cannot believe the support we got from so many well wishes. A local farmer one-day knocked on my door and said he £3000 to invest if it would help. Two daughters from one of our tenants asked if they could put a bottle on the bar to collect money for the Brewery. All the love and support we were given from employees, tenants and well wishes helped my family and I
To my family I became known as 'Mr. Ah - but'. I would go to bed at night deciding there was no way I could raise all the money needed. Having never been the best of sleepers I would lie awake at night trying to work out a way of sorting things out. In the morning having told Pat the night before I could see no way out my first words were, 'Ah, but I have had another idea.' Off to the City I would go with, by now, my battered brief case and my new idea.
In August 1986 the tide suddenly changed. Our Premium Ale, XXXB, was judged 'Beer of the Year' by The Campaign for Real at the Great British Beer Festival. Then on 3rd February I must have been one of the happiest men alive, I was able to announce 'We are pleased to announce that the long standing differences between the shareholders as to the future of the Company has been resolved'. With the help of a London solicitor, who had heard Pat and myself on the radio with our story, I managed to organise a financial deal with John and Helen to buy their hares back into the Brewery. This obviously involved borrowing a large amount of money from the bank. However, celebrations could now take place with red and yellow balloons being tied all around the brewery and several serious parties taking place.
Batemans Brewery continues to grow from strength to strength. In 1998 Carlsberg Tetley purchased our freetrade which gave us the opportunity to develop our pub estate. We now have 71 pubs having purchased in 2001 purchased a pub/hotel in Holmfirth two pubs in the Derbyshire Dales to add to the pub we already had in this area and another pub in Nottingham. All our pubs sell at least one of our cask beers. Our cask beers can also be found in pubs throughout the UK and our bottled beers can be found on numerous supermarket shelves.
My family are still very involved with the business. I am Chairman, Pat was Design Director until she very sadly passed away last year, Jaclyn Marketing Director and Stuart is MD of the Wholesale Division. In 1994 I decided to relinquish my role as Managing Director which I had had since the death of my father in 1970 but retaining a very active position as Chairman. In consequence of this Haydn Biddle, who had a very senior position in the industry, joined us as Chief Executive. I was delighted in 1997 to be honoured with the award of Lifetime Achievement by the All Parliamentary Beer Group.
In August 2000 a Visitors Centre was opened at the brewery with the help of East Midlands Grant Funds. A day out for all the family.
We are also demonstrating our commitment to brewing for many years to come. When so many regional breweries have closed we are building a new brew house helped by grants via Government Office and DTI. The building will be connected to the existing Fermentation Units and will blend beers brewed with the old equipment to ensure consistency of quality and continuity of tradition.
I can definitely see what my father meant when asked what is the future for the family brewery. 'There have been good times and bad times in the past and there will be again, but if you put your back into it and work hard, you will do well. If you just want to sit back and take money out of the business you will not succeed'.

In 1997 I was delighted to be honoured with the award of Lifetime Achievement by the All Parliamentary Beer Group and also received an award from the Guild of British Beer Writers in 2000.

The 7th March 2005 was a very sad day at Batemans Brewery as George’s wife Pat, who was Design Director, died. On the 25th June 2007, Chairman, George Bateman also passed away. Their children Jaclyn and Stuart are still very much involved with the brewery and after all the hard work their parents have invested are committed to ensuring that the Brewery continues to thrive.

Brian Bean who was Deputy Chairman, became Chairman of Batemans Brewery in September 2007.

"A True English Gentleman"

George Gunson Bateman J.P.
Chairman: Batemans Brewery
Born: 06.11.27 - Died: 25.6.07
 

George Gunson Bateman trained as a brewer at Greens of Luton before joining the family brewery at Wainfleet, in 1950. Batemans had been established by his grand father in 1874. George became Chairman and Managing Director in 1970 and remained as Chairman until his death.

He quickly set about upgrading the plant and machinery on a ‘shoe string’ budget, building the plant from second hand equipment, even utilising discarded dairy farming kit. It was in the late 1950’s that George started to establish an estate of pubs using borrowed money and by committing to purchase specified volumes of beer from other brewers. Many thought he had overstretched himself and it was from then on that he spent the rest of his life ‘beating the odds’.

The first major obstacle placed in George’s way was the National Brewers’ development of Keg Beers. Batemans Brewery, under his leadership, continued to champion the cause of naturally produced English cask conditioned beers. With the assistance of the consumer pressure group The Campaign For Real Ale, he was successful and Batemans beers went on to win many top awards in the late 1980’s and still continue to do so.

He was then faced with the challenge of helping his brother and sister to realise the value of their shares, which was quite a traumatic period for George and his family, as there were very limited funds to be able to achieve this without risking the future of the Brewery. George and his family could have walked away and been reasonably comfortable, but he was not prepared to do that, nor was he prepared to even contemplate a sale to any other brewery or company who would not commit to keeping the Brewery open and the continue employment of his local communities.

George’s negotiations involved banks, breweries and financial companies and it took nearly three years to convince the institutions to lend him the money and back his plans for development of a free trade business. During this time he sold off a number of his own pubs, in order to satisfy his brother and sister’s requirements. Despite advice to the contrary, he kept on every single member of staff who had been with the Brewery during, what he called ‘those dark days’.

George was then responsible for overseeing the enormous struggle back to success and the Brewery’s prosperity. He was exceptionally proud to conduct his business in a trusting and gentlemanly manner, always respecting the needs of others. He was totally against what is some times seen as a ‘dog eat dog’ environment within business - portrayed on several TV business games shows. Business people, he believed, were there to serve their employees. An old fashioned approach he knew, but one shared by his family and co-directors and one which has seen his small company prosper and gain him the respect of many of his peers.

His care for others was summed up recently when he was asked what he would like to be remembered for, it was not his work at the Brewery and his considerable achievements within the Brewing industry, it was for his work and endeavour at the charity Linkage (www.linkage.org.uk) :-

• This Charity provides specialist courses of residential further education for people with learning difficulties and disabilities as well as longer-stay accommodation for former students who have yet to attain the skills to live independently.  

• George was the Founder Chairman, and Linkage Community Trust and Chairman from 1976 until his death.  

• Starting from scratch this Charity now has 240 students/residents, over 200 staff with a turnover of £5m per annum and assets of £7m.  

• The Chief Executive appointed in 1996 is Dr. R. J. Price O.B.E. who was previously attached to The Cabinet Office. 

George always said that it was easy for people to give money to support causes and that sometimes eased their consciences, what he was more concerned with was giving people who needed his time, endeavour, care and concern.

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