The latest from Britain’s brewing capital

Staffordshireis known worldwide as the centre of pale ale brewing and home to Britain’s largest brewing collection, so it’s no surprise that beer is once again taking centre stage in the county.

A new development opening in 2020 will see a historic Staffordshire brewery return after almost 60 years to its original home, selling beer first made by Augustinian monks – and with perhaps one of the world’s most unusual brand logos.

Joule’s Brewery can trace its roots back to the 18thcentury when it set up home in the market town of Stone, alongside the Trent and Mersey canal, where beer has been brewed since the 16th century.

In its heyday, with giant warehousing along the Stone Canal Wharf, Joule’s became the first English beer to be exported to the US and its ale was notably recorded as stock on the Titanic on the 10th April 1912.

Sadly, the brand disappeared after being bought out in 1974, but it was resurrected in 2010 with a new brewery in Shropshire, just across the county border from the old Stone Brewery; and in 2017 Joule’s became an independent brewery once more.

Now Joule’s is set to return to Stone, the spiritual home of the brand and its trade mark Stone Ale, and is breathing new life into the historic Crown Wharf site – creating a new Joule’s taphouse alongside a planned community heritage centre and theatre.

Set to open in 2020, the new flagship pub’s design reflects canalside architecture, taking key inspiration from the old Joule’s warehouse next door, while the whole development aims to connect the heritage of the canal, the town and the brewery.

And the tale of the Red Cross? When Augustine monks first brewed beer in Stone, theymarked each barrel with a red cross to identify its superior qualities. John Joule adopted this sign for his ales and registered the trademark in 1867, making it the world’s sixth oldest beer trademark.

The Red Cross, of course, was later adopted as the international symbol for aid, but Joule’s has the unique right to use the symbol commercially. Out of respect, Joule’s flanks the mark with ‘Trade Mark’ and never depicts the brand on a white dray.

Joule’s latest investment builds on Staffordshire’s reputation for brewing and beer.

Earlier this year, Carling dubbed Burton upon Trent the ‘brewing heart of Britain’. It’s no pint-sized claim to fame; just over a century ago it was Britain’s undisputed brewing capital, home to scores of breweries, as well as the world’s most famous beer brand, Bass pale ale. Known worldwide as the home of pale ale brewing, during the late 19th century Burton brewed a quarter of all beer sold in Britain.

Today’s visitors to Burton can learn more about how this market town earned its worldwide reputation at the National Brewery Centre, which also hosts Britain’s largest brewing collection (

Staffordshire has also proved a pull for TV’s ‘Men Behaving Badly’ and ‘Bob the Builder’ actor Neil Morrissey, who hails from the county, and who is part of a management team that currently owns two pubs in the county.

He is replicating the ‘winning formula’ of his first pub, The Plume of Feathers, in Barlaston, near Stoke-on-Trent, at his new venture the Old Bramshall Inn, near Uttoxeter, which opened in summer 2018 (

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Staffordshire, the historic Meynell Ingram Arms pub at Hoar Cross is winning rave reviews for its food and drink since re-opening in May 2019, after being closed for around five years (

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