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Adnams is a regional brewery founded in 1872 in Southwold, Suffolk, England, by George and Ernest Adnams. It produces cask ale and pasteurised bottled beers. Annual production is around 85,000 barrels.

LocationSouthwold, Suffolk, England
Coordinates52°19′38″N 1°40′47″E / 52.32722°N 1.67972°E / 52.32722; 1.67972Coordinates: 52°19′38″N 1°40′47″E / 52.32722°N 1.67972°E / 52.32722; 1.67972
Key peopleGeorge and Ernest Adnams, Jonathan Adnams, Dr Andy Wood
Annual production volume85,000 imperial barrels (139,000 hL)

In 2010, the company established the Copper House distillery for the production of gin, vodka and whisky.


A dray horse making beer deliveries in June 2006.

The earliest recorded brewing on the Adnams site was in 1396 by Johanna de Corby.[1]

The Sole Bay Brewery in Southwold was purchased in 1872 by George and Ernest Adnams. The company was incorporated in 1890, and has remained independent since then, producing a range of beers for distribution mainly in East Anglia. The Adnams family was joined in 1902 by Pierse Loftus and his brother Jack,[1] and Adnams still has members of each family on the board, with Jonathan Adnams as chairman and Simon Loftus as a non-executive director.

Adnams' distribution centre opened in 2006.

Until 1953 and from 1970 to 2006, casks of Adnams ale were delivered to the six pubs of Southwold by horse and dray; the tradition ended when a new distribution depot was built three miles from the brewery.[2]

The company founded a charity, The Adnams Charity,[3] in 1990 to celebrate its centenary as a public company. A percentage of the company's annual profits is used to support worthwhile causes within a 25-mile radius of Southwold.

The Sky Garden Green Roof that tops this state of the art distribution centre was designed with insulation and rainwater absorption in mind. The sedum plants that make up the vegetation blanket store a lot of water and slow the run off from the roof to the drains.

In 1993, Adnams Extra won the Champion Beer of Britain, an award presented by the Campaign for Real Ale at the annual Great British Beer Festival. Adnams remains committed to brewing cask ale and operating non-themed pubs.[citation needed] Cask ale is available in all its 70 pubs, and it supplies more than 1000 other outlets direct.[citation needed] New fermenting vessels were installed in March 2001 to cope with demand, and the brewhouse was completely re-equipped in July 2006, making it one of the most energy efficient in Europe.[citation needed]

At the beginning of 2004, Adnams purchased land in neighbouring village of Reydon to expand its business with a new distribution centre, designed by architect Jeremy Blake, which was nominated for the 2007 RICS East of England Award for Sustainability.[4] Adnams was awarded a Queen's Award for Enterprise in the sustainable development category in 2005.[5]

The distribution centre features the UK's largest living roof known as the Sky Garden which is made up of a variety of sedum species. Not only does this help to insulate the building, but the water stored in the sedum plants is also harvested and used to flush the staff toilets and clean company vehicles.[6] This, combined with the solar panels and the environmental construction have meant the energy bills have been cut by half.[7]

In June 2009, Adnams signed a five-year agreement to supply Ipswich Town FC with beers at their Portman Road stadium, replacing the 14-year-old association with Greene King.[citation needed]

In early 2019, Adnams launched a new English cider called Wild Wave.


Adnams produce regular cask ales, seasonal ales, pasteurised bottled beers, "international" beers and "commemorative" beers and cider :[8]

Regular beersEdit

Sole Bay Brewery
  • Broadside, a 4.7% abv premium bitter
  • Explorer, a 4.3% golden bitter that was introduced in 2004 as a summer seasonal; it became a regular beer in February 2006
  • Ghost Ship, a 4.5% abv pale ale, previously available May through to October but available year-round from March 2012.[9]
  • Sole Star, a low alcohol (2.7% abv) amber ale, introduced December 2011 and delisted shortly afterwards, it remains available in bottles. Reintroduced in 2017 at 0.9% abv and claimed to have the same taste as the original.
  • Southwold Bitter, a 3.7% abv session bitter. This was renamed from plain "Bitter" and the packaging redesigned in May 2011.
  • Topaz Gold, a 4.0% abv pale golden ale, brewed with Australian hop varieties, introduced August 2012

Keg beersEdit

  • Spindrift, a 5.0% abv golden bitter introduced in 2006


  • English Red Ale, a 4.5% abv ale, available November to December, brewed with English Admiral hops.
  • Extra, 4.3% abv. Available in April.[10] Winner of the Champion Beer of Britain award in 1993.
  • Fat Sprat, a 3.8% abv Amber summer beer, brewed with Pale Ale malted barley, Munich, Cara and Black malt, with Columbus, English Goldings, Cascade and Chinook hops; introduced in May 2013.
  • Kristal White Ale, a 4.2% abv golden wheat beer, available February to Easter, brewed with malted wheat, barley and German Noble Hops.
  • May Day, a 5.0% abv golden ale, available April and May, is made with East Anglian Pale Ale malt, and hopped with First Gold
  • Mild, 3.2% abv. Available in March and May.[11]
  • Old Ale, a 4.1% "cold weather beer", introduced October 2006, and available October to January
  • Oyster Stout, a 4.3% abv winter stout, available February and March, is made from East Anglian Pale Ale Malt, Crystal Malt, Chocolate Malt, roasted Barley and English Golding hops
  • Regatta, a 4.3% abv golden ale for summer, is available May through to August
  • Tally Ho, a 7.0% barley wine, limited availability in December
  • Yuletide, a 4.5% abv Christmas beer, available from November to December, is brewed with Maris Otter, Chocolate and Amber Malts and Boadicea & Chinook Hops
  • Jester, a 4.8% abv single hop golden beer brewed with Pale Ale Malt and hopped with a new British hop called Jester. The beer has aromas of grapefruit and tropical fruits partnered with a complex bitterness, subtle herbal notes.[12]
Bottle of East Green beer.


  • Broadside, a 6.3% bottled strong ale
  • East Green, a 4.3%, a carbon neutral beer with a lighter bottle made with 15% recycled glass[13]
  • Explorer, a 5.5% bottled ale which, like the cask Explorer, is a blend of English and American styles
  • Gun Hill, a 4.0% bottled dark mild
  • Lighthouse, a 3.4% bottled traditional pale ale named after Southwold lighthouse; recipe based on an award-winning beer that used to be brewed called 'Champion Pale Ale'
  • Spindrift, a 5.0% abv golden bitter, in bottles from 2010.
  • Tally Ho, a bottled version of the barley wine which, at 7.2%, is slightly stronger than its cask equivalent[14]
  • The Bitter (formerly Suffolk Strong Ale) 4.5% bottled version of the retired cask Extra

International beersEdit

From time to time, Adnams produce limited brews of specialty beers, either in the styles of non-UK beers, or using special international ingredients. These beers are usually available only from selected outlets. Past and current international beers have included:[citation needed]

  • American Style IPA, a 4.8% abv cask beer using Californian yeast and American hop varieties
  • Belgian Style Abbey Ale, a 5.0% abv cask beer
  • Dutch Style Bokbier, a 5.3% abv cask beer
  • New Zealand Pale Ale, a 4.0% abv cask beer brewed using Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand
  • Spiced Winter Beer, a 4.0% abv cask beer incorporating cinnamon, juniper and other spices

Commemorative beersEdit

Adnams have a long history of producing limited and one-off special beers to commemorate events of local or national importance.[citation needed] These are generally available for a limited period in bottles, and in cask at a few selected outlets. Recent beers include:-

ReferencesEdit 330ml can of 'Earl Grey Pale Ale' (5% ABV), made using bread, flavoured with Earl Grey tea, brewed by Adnams exclusively for Marks & Spencer
  1. ^ a b "Our History - Adnams Southwold".
  2. ^ "Brewery calls time on horse drays". BBC News. 8 September 2006. Retrieved 11 December 2012. A tradition of delivering beer by horse-drawn dray has been ended....Adnams blamed traffic conditions and the distance to a new distribution depot for ending the horses' careers. The brewery is moving its distribution three miles away and bosses have decided the journey would be too far for the horses.Adnams originally stopped using horses in 1953, but resumed the tradition in 1970.
  3. ^ "UK Charity Commission – The Adnams Charity". 17 May 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2007.
  4. ^ "Entries for the RICS East of England Awards". 19 April 2007. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2007.
  5. ^ "No. 57618". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 April 2005. p. 1.
  6. ^ [1] Archived 12 March 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "BBC - Suffolk - Community - Adnams' eco-centre".
  8. ^ "Adnams: Beer from the Coast". Adnams Brewery. Archived from the original on 5 October 2008. Retrieved 13 October 2008.
  9. ^ "Ghost Ship is here to stay!". Adnams Brewery. Retrieved 30 April 2012.
  10. ^ "Adnams Seasonal Beers". Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  11. ^ "Adnams Mild 3.2% ABV". Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  12. ^ "Adnams Jester".
  13. ^ "Adnams Southwold". Archived from the original on 20 May 2008.
  14. ^ "Adnams Tally-Ho now available in bottles". Retrieved 27 June 2011.

External linksEdit