The history of beer, together with the history of the ale house, tavern and pub is a major part of the social history of Britain, and for those who like their history through a pint glass – the new National Brewery Centre Archives will be a boon.

The archives tell the history of the UK brewing and pub industries and their impact on the UK’s economy and way of life over the past 250 years via a treasure trove of imagery and digitised ephemera.

Currently just five thousand of around half a million items that chart Britain’s history of brewing and boozing are on public display at the National Brewery Centre in Burton-on-Trent.

Now beer lovers and history enthusiasts can enjoy an ever-expanding online haul of brewerania online that includes a substantial number of digital images of adverts, (see above) long forgotten and still thriving pubs together with brewery photos, books and records.

Archive users can explore collections covering all aspects of beer and pubs including advertising, farming, brewing in wartime and transport as well as search for information about brewing industry personalities and famous British brewing and pub companies. Closer to home researchers can seek out historic photos of their own local pub or brewery, as well as social and family history.

National Brewery Heritage Trust chairman Harry White said: “Our aim is accessibility so we’re delighted that we’ve been able to start cataloguing our unique collection of brewing and pub heritage and opening on-line access for people to use for research, education and general interest.”

“We’ve started by digitising many of the more popular items in the collection, such as photos of historic pubs, breweries, brewing equipment, packaging & advertising, but this is a work in progress and more records and images will be added to the catalogue day by day.”

The project has taken two years so far and will cost over £50,000. Generous grants were awarded by organisations including CAMRA, the Consolidated Charity of Burton on Trent, Staffordshire Community Foundation, and the Brewers’ Research Education Fund. In addition, funds were raised from corporate and individual donors as well as via a crowdfunding campaign.

Explore the National Brewery Centre Archive at

Join the Discourse

Want to discuss this article? Join in on Discourse