Samuel Smith’s is a small, independent brewery producing less than 5% of the beer brewed in the town. Founded in 1758 by Backhouse and Hartley, it is Yorkshire’s oldest brewery.
Traditional methods of brewing have been retained and the original well that sunk in 1758 is still in use. The brewing water for the ales and stouts is drawn from 85 feet underground. The malt mixes with hard well water in copper mash-tuns, then, Fuggles and Goldings, the old fashioned varieties of hops that over the centuries have given the best British ales their distinctive flavour are later added and boiled in ‘coppers’.
Samuel Smith still ferments ale and stout in traditional Yorkshire stone ‘squares’. The ‘squares’ are roofed fermenting vessels made of solid blocks of slate. The yeast used is of a strain that has been used at the Old Brewery continuously since the beginning of the last century and is one of the oldest, unchanged strains in the country.
The Brewery cooper makes and repairs all the wooden casks used for the brewery’s naturally conditioned ‘Old Brewery Bitter’. Barrels, Kilderkins and Firkins are the traditional names used for the different sizes of casks. The casks are repaired with tools that have names like ‘patsy’, ‘chive’ and ‘adze’.
Samuel Smith’s grey shire horses are stabled behind the Angel and White Horse pub which is situated next to the brewery. The horses are still used to this day to make local deliveries.
The brewery operates in the region of 200 pubs. Many are small pubs situated in the post-industrial urban areas of the north of England. The pubs only stock Samuel Smith products.
Samuel Smith’s public houses are distinctive in their appearance with limited signage and artwork. Previously pubs could be noted by gold on black signage with the company logo, however the company have adopted a policy of not displaying the brewery name on their pubs.
Samuel Smith produces a range of full-bodied, speciality, bottled ales, lagers, fruit beers and cider, such as Taddy Porter, Organic Chocolate Stout and Nut Brown Ale, to name just a few.
The Little Delicatessen on Tadcaster’s High Street is owned by Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery and a full range of their speciality beers, lagers, and ciders are sold here.