Our History2018-10-24T11:03:54+00:00

Our History

When good friends Ray Ashworth and Dr David Crease got tired of the same old beers, they were determined to change things up a level. With a passion for homebrewing and creating authentic flavours, they became part of a new-wave revolution, handcrafting their own beers in the 1960s.

Constantly improving, they raised the bar for good quality beer year after year. With great taste comes great demand and Woodforde’s grew at record speeds. Through trial and error, energy and ingenuity and by using local barley and water from our own boreholes, these brewing pioneers took CAMRA’s 1990 ‘New Breweries Champion Beer of Britain’ award for the Wherry pint – one we’re still famous for today.

September 2018

Double Award Winners

Woodforde’s wins double at the Society of Independent Brewers (East) Awards, a gold for Nelson’s Revenge and a Bronze (its first) for refreshingly craft pale ale, Norada. This brings the total amount of awards won to an astonishing 131.

July 2018

The Barclay Stand sponsored by Woodforde’s Brewery

Woodforde’s sponsors the Barclay Stand at Norwich City Football Club, bringing their famous Wherry and Norada to the local club’s bars and kiosks and their iconic, Nelson fronted brand to the people of Norwich and beyond.

April 2018

Woodforde’s partner with M&S to produce exclusive lager

Woodforde’s partner with Marks & Spencer to produce their British Lager which is available in M&S Food Halls in cans across the UK.

January 2018

The future and beyond…

Master Brewer Neil Bain returns after two years away and takes his place as Head Brewer, ensuring our recipes stay true and creating exciting new additions. As a taste for new flavours increases, and demand for the highest quality beers continues to grow, we’re up for the challenge. In fact, our story’s only just getting started.

June 2017

A new brand for a growing brewery

Today, Woodforde’s is the largest brewery in Norfolk, producing over 20,000 barrels every year, with our beers reaching new fans across the country and around the globe. We were proud to launch our new brand, celebrating our proud heritage and our ambitions for the future.

June 2016

The next generation

With the current owners taking a well-deserved retirement, they handed the brewing baton to James & Nick. With passionate people at the helm, we set our sights on taking Woodforde’s far beyond our borders.

August 2015

Woodforde’s Wins Brewery of the Year

Named ‘Brewery of the Year’ by the Good Pub Guide, we celebrated, not only this prestigious title, but an acknowledgement of the hard work and passion of our people – who have made Woodforde’s what it is today.

August 2007

Building a new brewhouse

A decade in the making, we opened a sixty-barrel (17,280 pint) capacity brewhouse as production continued to expand. Today, we have two brew houses, where we perfect our craft around the clock.

July 1996

A Wherry worthy champion

A very special, and very rare, accolade for a session beer: Woodforde’s Wherry, was named CAMRA ‘Supreme Champion Beer of Britain’ in 1996. And when the Nog won the same award, we found ourselves in good company – one of a ‘tiny super league’ of just four British brewers to have won the title twice over.

January 1995

Build it and they will come

With visitors making their way to Woodbastwick to sample our brews for themselves, we knew they would want samples to take home. So we opened The Woodforde’s Brewery Shop and Visitor Centre. Today, its shelves still brim with our delicious brews, plus our top pick of the region’s finest food and drink.

May 1992

Our very own brewery tap

When you make beer as good as we do, you need a place to enjoy it. We welcomed our first customers to our very own local, The Fur & Feather Inn, built within a converted row of thatched cottages just steps from the brewery doors.

April 1989

Woodforde’s moves to Woodbastwick

As demand for Woodforde’s beers grew, so did the need for a larger space to perfect our craft. Moving from Drayton near Norwich, a group of barns and listed farm buildings were found in Woodbastwick, a beautiful village in the winding Norfolk Broads.

November 1981

Back where it all began

Good friends, Ray Ashworth and Dr David Crease fulfilled a lifelong ambition and opened their very own brewery and Woodforde’s was born. Named after an 18th Century Parson, whose diaries spoke of his love of good food and beer.