In 1851, Walter Hicks turned his back on a 400-year old family tradition and mortgaged his farm for £1,500. From his fields above Luxulyan he could see Cornwall's industrial future taking shape and he would ensure it had plenty to drink.
Hicks was an incredibly successful entrepreneur who learned his new trade, first as a maltster, then a wine-and-spirit merchant, before building his first brewery in 1869. Within 25 years the business had outgrown the building and The Walter Hicks Brewery was established on the present panoramic site above St Austell. Since then there have been alterations and improvements but the essential "brew-house" of 1893 is still the working heart of the brewery today: a tour will give you a fascinating insight into brewing and industrial methods which have changed only in detail in 140 years.In the best tradition of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it, you will see malted barley for ales with mediaeval recipes being ground on an 1890 belt-driven mill and heated to a steaming mash in still older cast-iron tuns. Overseeing the process are descendants, not only of the Hicks family but the brewers who joined the Luxulyan farmer at the birth of his venture.
After the milling and , mashing are done; when the goods have been sparged, the wort drawn off and hopped, and the yeast added, you can sample the end result from the cask.
Better still, there is a fully licensed gift shop in the Visitor Centre which stocks the full range of beers and spirits produced by the Brewery.
ST AUSTELL BREWERY CO LTD
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