Kate writes a bi-weekly column for the Burton Mail. This column was originally featured in the 27th January print edition.
Burton is the capital of British brewing and our town’s connection to this industry is something that we are rightly proud of locally.
I was incredibly disappointed, as I know other residents were, by the news this week that the Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (CMBC) intends to retire the historic Burton Unions brewing system.
Burton Unions is an almost unique system of brewing beer whereby a collection of wooden barrels and pipes recirculates the beer and yeast during the fermentation period. Pioneered by Marston’s Brewery during the Victorian era, this brewing process revolutionised the industry and cemented Burton’s place as the capital of brewing.
Back in 2013, it was estimated that one in every eight pints drunk in the UK were brewed in Burton. It is not hard to suspect that back in the Victorian period this ratio would have been much higher, all brewed via the Burton Unions system.
At a difficult time for the industry, I can appreciate the company’s desire to secure its future here in Burton along with the significant local employment opportunities it brings with it. But we must ensure that our local history is also maintained. I am pleased that the CMBC has made a commitment to preserving the Burton Unions system and I have been in touch with the company to find out more details about what exactly they intend this to look like.
I met recently with Government Ministers at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to see what more can be done to safeguard Burton’s heritage, and to present plans to regenerate Bass House into the new home for the National Brewery Centre and the archive collection and I will be arranging a further meeting to discuss financial support for this under the Levelling Up Fund.
Burton’s heritage is something we all own and it must be preserved and on public display.