About JW Lees
JW Lees is a family brewery company which was founded in 1828. We are based in Middleton in North Manchester and own JW Lees Brewery, JW Lees Pubs, Lees Pubs SARL, The Alderley Edge Hotel, The Trearddur Bay Hotel and Willoughby’s Wine Merchants.
JW Lees is a sixth-generation family business which employs just over 1,000 people, 140 at the brewery and site in Middleton Junction in North Manchester and 865 in its 30 managed pubs, as well as letting a further 142 tied pubs to self-employed tenants.
Cask beer is at the heart of JW Lees and we brew six cask ales as well as three lagers, three smooth beers and eight limited edition seasonal cask ales which are available throughout at different times of the year. We also have the sole UK distribution rights for Bohemia Regent Premium Lager from the Czech Republic. Willoughby’s is our wines and spirits company and we stock over 500 wines from all over the world.
WHERE HAVE WE COME FROM?
In 1828 retired cotton manufacturer John Lees had a twinkle in his eye. Or maybe he’d had a bad pint and wanted to get things right. He bought some land at Middleton Junction and started making beer. His timing was immaculate. This was an age in which working men would drink up to twelve pints a day, women a little less and even the kids got in on the act. This wasn’t because water was considered a waste of throat-time or everyone was a binge-drinker but because you might catch something extremely nasty from water, like cholera. In those days beer drinking was considered good for you, certainly compared with less healthy stronger alcoholic drinks like gin. At the same time Manchester was becoming the workshop of the world and expanding rapidly. When demand meets quality at the right price you get success.
In 1876 John Lees grandson John William, took sole control of the Brewery and changed the name to JW Lees & Co. He didn’t just keep his nose stuck in a mash tun either, finding time to become Mayor of Middleton twice.
And now? Well JW Lees has been passed down the generations and we’re now up to the sixth generation. William, Simon, Michael and Christina Lees-Jones joined Richard and Christopher at JW Lees in the early 1990s. (Click the image for a larger view of the family tree). There’s definitely no plans for JW Lees to sell out to one of the bigger breweries either.
We are a growing family company and are always looking for new pubs, new customers and new people to join us – we say that we want to be the most exciting brewery in the North and that’s just where we going.