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Our Story

We are an independent, family brewing company founded in 1827, located in the Yorkshire Dales market town of Masham, North Yorkshire and controlled and run by fifth generation, direct family descendants of the founder, Robert Theakston. We use Robert's passion for quality ingredients and brewing as the guiding ethos that has ensured our company's place at the pinnacle of the brewer's art today.

Theakston is one of Britain’s oldest established family brewing companies and is famed throughout the country and overseas for its wide range of premium ales brewed in our historic Victorian tower brewery. Our legendary Old Peculier beer is sold in many countries overseas and is widely admired as a world iconic beer.

Having an amazing history encompassing everything from world wars, economic highs and lows, takeovers and buy-backs throughout nearly two centuries of brewing, today, Theakston remain at the forefront of the craft beer revival with customers all over the UK. We play an active role in supporting arts, sport and the local environment both in North Yorkshire and further afield.

Brewing Process

Theakston are renowned as brewing innovators; brewing a wide range of small batch cask conditioned, premium keg draught ales, as well as bottled and canned beers for the UK domestic and many overseas markets.

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The Family History

Theakston has a long family history starting with Robert Theakston right up to the current day, where it is still run by members of the same family.


1827 - Robert Theakston starts brewing Theakston beer for the first time.

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Robert Theakston with his business partner John Wood take the lease of the Black Bull Inn in Masham and in the cellar of the inn start brewing.

Later in 1840, they extend the Inn with the construction of a permanent brewhouse behind the Black Bull, possibly the first purpose built brew pub!

1856 - Robert's family join the team

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Robert’s son Thomas joins the brewery and a few years later Thomas’s brother Robert (junior) joins. Together the brothers complete the construction of the new brewery in 1875, still in use today.

In the same year the founder Robert dies and two of his sons, Thomas and Robert take over, forming the partnership of T&R Theakston

1880 - Thomas inherits the business

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Thomas's brother Robert dies. Thomas takes over the reins of the company. Later in 1894, Thomas’s sons, Robert & Edwin join the brewery and Francis, a few years later, as Directors


1905-1920 - T&R Theakston Ltd. becomes a limited company and the war years.

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1905 Theakston becomes a limited Company

1914-18 Dorothy, the sister of Robert, Edwin and Francis, ensuring continuity of the family business, takes control of the brewery during the time her brothers are at war

In 1919 when the men return, T&RT buys the only other brewery in Masham, Thomas Lightfoot, rumoured, in part, because it was claimed they had a better cricket team. Production of the Lightfoot brewery is moved to the Theakston brewery site on the other side of Masham in Red Lane. The old Lightfoot buildings become the offices of the combined business as Red Lane is expanded to cope with the additional production demand.

1919 - Thomas dies leaving the running of the brewery to his sons.

1935-1970 - The first pubs are purchased and ownership changes hands again.

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1935 - Pubs are purchased forming the basis of an estate which grew to 25 in total located throughout North Yorkshire

1954 - Robert dies, Edwin and Francis remain non-executive Directors. The running of the business passes to Robert's sons Thomas and Frank

1968 - Frank dies and Thomas retires, the business is taken over by Francis’s son Michael, as Chairman and Edwin’s son Richard as Director, with Frank’s son Paul as Managing Director

1970-1980 - Expansion of production and growth in new overseas markets

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1974 - As demand for Theakston beers expands on the wave of rekindled interest in premium cask ale, T&RT purchase from the government the Carlisle State Brewery, a company nationalised by Prime Minister Lloyd George in 1916. Production and packaging of some T&RT beers moved to Carlisle

1976 - Theakston begin exporting their beer to the USA, Holland and gulf states

1980-1990 - Family dispute and more award wins

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1981 - Simon Theakston, Michael’s son joins the brewery

1984 - A disagreement amongst the wider family over the future direction for the business, results in the controlling interest of the company being purchased by Matthew Brown PLC, brewers in Blackburn, following a contested court action. Matthew Brown plc close the Carlisle Brewery and moves production to their second brewery in Workington, a few miles away. Simon is transferred to Matthew Brown Leased and Tenancy Division

1987 - Brewers Scottish & Newcastle plc takes over Matthew Brown. Theakston becomes part of the wider S&N business. Simon moves to Edinburgh to join S&N head office in Edinburgh

1990 - Theakston Old Peculier is awarded 'Champion Strong Ale of Britain' at the Great British Beer Festival, one of many awards the beer has received


2000-2004 - New owners and sponsorship

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2003 - Led by Simon Theakston and former S&N director Collin Wood, together with Simon’s brothers, Nick, Tim and Edward a successful renegotiation with S&N results in the buy-back of Theakston into family control, in a move considered to be the first in modern brewing history of a small family brewing company buying itself back again from a major national brewer. The purchase included the freehold of the White Bear Hotel now run as the Theakston flagship and key element of the 'Theakston Masham experience'

2004 - Michael Theakston, father of Nick, Simon, Tim and Edward, dies.

Theakston begin their long-running sponsorship of the Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival now the biggest of its kind in the world

2005/2006 - Brewery Updates

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There is completion of a new fermenting room in Masham in 2005 which triples capacity, enabling beer to be brewed and sold to an ever-growing customer and consumer base

New corporate branding is developed along with new advertising campaigns and customer support programmes

Later in 2006, completion of a major refurbishment of the Theakston Visitor Centre enables extended services and facilities to greater numbers of visitors to the brewery


2010/2018 - New contracts, team members and sponsorships

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2010- T&RT become title sponsors of the Nidderdale Cricket League encompassing 45 clubs within 30 miles of the brewery

2013 - Agreement with Heineken UK (following their purchase of S&NPLC in 2008) of a new long-term supply contract ensures continuation of availability of Theakston beers throughout the country.

2014- Head Brewer Bill Wilson retires and Mark Slater is appointed
2014 - Richard Bradbury joins T&RT Board as non-executive director

2015- Barista Stout launched and quickly develops a cult following for this coffee infused craft beer

2016 Euan Findlay begins his four-year apprenticeship to become the next Theakston 'Journeyman Cooper'

2019/2020 - Promotions and new beers

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2019- Simon is elected as Master of the Worshipful Company of Brewers, the London livery company dating back to medieval times, the first member of the Theakston family to hold this annually appointed position

2019 -Theakston Summit Pale Ale is launched with great acclaim, a cask beer especially brewed to be enjoyed at a cooler temperature

The Coronavirus Pandemic strikes the UK, resulting in all On trade pubs and bars being forced to close putting in peril the entire industry. Recovery from July 2021 results in renewed appreciation for the role of the On trade pubs and bars as a positive force for social cohesion, at the heart of Britain's communities

Dramatic growth in Off trade and ecommerce sales during the period

2020 - Collin Wood retires. Richard Bradbury is appointed Joint Managing Director

2021 - Traditional Trussing In Ceremony

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Euan Findlay is ‘Trussed-In’ as his delayed (due to the pandemic) four-year apprenticeship is completed to be the latest in a line of qualified Theakston Journeymen coopers

2023 - Simon Theakston Elected President Of The Yorkshire Agricultural Society

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As a member of the Trustee Board for 16 years, 8 of which as chairman, this year Simon
Theakston was the elected President of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, the organisation responsible for hosting the Country’s leading agricultural show - The Great Yorkshire Show. The association between Yorkshire Agriculture and the brewery covers the entire near 200 years history of the company

2024 - Company Updates

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In January 2024 Simon Theakston was appointed Chairman of T&R Theakston Ltd. At the same time Richard Bradbury, formerly Joint Managing Director with Simon, was appointed Managing Director of T&R Theakston Ltd.

The Theakston Cooper

Theakston have employed coopers since the founding of the company and continue to do so today in our on-site cooperage hand-crafting wooden casks in the traditional, time-honoured method.

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Some of the People behind the name

Simon Theakston


Richard Bradbury

Managing Director

Victoria Bramley

Marketing Manager

Mark Slater & Dan Miller

Head Brewer & 2nd Brewer

Brewery Lads

Brewing Team

Euan Findlay

Theakston Cooper

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