George Bateman & Son
Ltd, Salem Bridge Brewery, Wainfleet, Lincolnshire PE24 4JE
Tel. 01754 880317 Fax. 01754 880939 e-mail
Click here for details of our
XB Best Bitter
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
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.
History in the words
of the chairmen - As you will
see below, we have a very full history.
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
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
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 -
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 -
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
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
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
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
Brian Bean who was Deputy Chairman, became
Chairman of Batemans Brewery in September 2007.
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.
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.
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.