Built to Brew

BookBuilt to Brew

Built to Brew

The History and heritage of the brewery

English Heritage


June 15th, 2014





Beer has been brewed in England since Neolithic times, and this book combines a thoroughly enjoyable exploration of beer’s history and built heritage with new in-depth research into the nuts and bolts of its production. Based around England’s breweries, but occasionally ranging further afield, it tells the intriguing story of the growth of this significant industry. From Georgian brewing magnates who became household names – and their brewhouses notable tourist attractions – through magnificently ornate Victorian towers to the contemporary resurgence of microbreweries, the text throws new light on brewers and the distinctive architecture of their buildings.

Detailed chapters explain what makes a brewery work, revealing the functions of sometimes enormous brewing vessels, the astonishing skills of coppersmiths and engineers, the work of heroic mill horses and the innovative steam engines which replaced them. The wider context of the brewing industry is also investigated, bringing out the breadth of the ‘beerscape’, including those buildings put up with brewing profits such as the original Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon.

A brewery index allows readers to find which sites are extant and can still be visited. Traditional working breweries are to be treasured and celebrated, but complementing these, the book looks to the future, considering constructive redevelopment as part of our national brewing heritage.

This fascinating and lavishly illustrated work shows how deeply interwoven beer and brewing are within English culture. If you care about beer, industry or England, this book is for you. Winner of the 2015 Association for Industrial Archaeology's Peter Neaverson Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Industrial Archaeology.

This is not just a technical reference book; it is a highly readable account of how over history our beer has been provided and the people and buildings that have played their part. I recommend it without reservation.
Tony Hedger, London Drinker

This is a fascinating insight, which links up neatly with economic history, ... and begins to give us a stronger basis for understanding the growth of the brewing industry.
Mike Brown, Brewery History, Journal of the Brewery History Society

Lynn Pearson has produced a rather fine book covering both the history and heritage of brewing in the UK.
Nottingham Drinker, (CAMRA)

This is an impressive, well researched book with a wealth of detailed information and a huge number of illustrations. ... Lynn Pearson's writing and English Heritage's presentation have come together to create a visually stunning and enjoyable read. Outstanding.
Martin Ellis, Cannybevvy

Few industries enjoy as much public affection as brewing, and with small-scale operations enjoying a renaissance across the United Kingdom, Lynn Pearson provides a timely review of its ups and downs. ... Like all English Heritage books, much of the value of 'Built to Brew' lies in its many illustrations.
Dominic Lenton, Engineering and Technology (E&T) Magazine

Built to Brew provides a wealth of detail on the history and development of the brewing industry and its associated structures. It will form the basis for many different in-depth studies.
Amber Patrick, Industrial Archaeology Review

Built to Brew is perhaps written as a record rather than as literature, but it is indispensable on that level and is very generously illustrated with contemporary and historic photographs and drawings. Whether the readers' interest is in production or comsumption, Built to Brew offers a comprehensive guide to the processes of brewing, the engineering and architecture of breweries, and the wider effects of brewing on the historic built environment.
Michael Taylor, Context


An immaculately produced history of English beer production, its brewers, architecture, technology. geography and brewery landscape. Illustrations on every page, references, bibliography, sites index, as well as a reflection on the re-use possibilities for these complex and specialized sites.
TICCIH Bulletin

...every page is worth reading for the often fascinating insights that Lynn Pearson's research has revealed. The book itself is a visual delight.
Marilyn Palmer, English Heritage Historical Review

Author Information

Independent architectural historian and photographer.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
1. The Prologue: Beer
2. The Emergence of the Brewery
3. The Development of the Brewery
4. Designing and Planning the Brewery
5. Inside the Brewery
6. Powering the Brewery
7. Burton upon Trent – Beer Capital of Britain
8. Beyond the Brewery
9. The Industry’s Buildings Today
Illustration Credits
Brewery Index
Geographical Index
General Index