Brewing brothers Keith and Dave Bott have been honoured for their dedication to business and the brewing industry.
The Titanic Brewery owners were presented with the lifetime achievement honour at the culmination of the Sentinel Business Awards, a long-standing, highly respected awards programme celebrating business achievement in Staffordshire and Cheshire.
The honour came as a complete surprise to the business partners, who were at the awards to show their support for local business.
The Bott family took a huge leap of faith when they decided to buy a brewery in 1988. The current craft beer explosion was just a dream in those days, and the North Staffordshire beer scene was dominated by the big players, such as Marston’s and Ansells.
Keith had been in the trade throughout his working life, starting as an apprentice brewer with Titanic, which began life as a tiny micro-brewery at the back of the Travellers’ Rest pub, Middleport, on the outskirts of Burslem.
Dave had built a successful outward-bound retail business, based in Stafford, the brothers’ home town.
Keith was honoured with an MBE two years ago for services to industry and the Staffordshire economy, and has served as chair and president of SIBA.
He said: “Titanic Brewery was a superb little business and was run with passion by its founder, John Pazio. It hit hard times and John had to give it up.
“John was passionate about beer, but would never have envisaged Titanic Brewery as it is today. We brew around 4 million pints of beer a year and distribute all over the UK and in Europe.”
Amazing honour, fantastic journey
“The Sentinel Lifetime Achievement Award is an amazing honour, and we have to thank everyone who has played a part in the Titanic story. It has been a fantastic journey and we have made many lasting friendships along the way.
“We are in great and exclusive company — only a handful of people have received this lifetime achievement award, and a recent recipient was Emma Bridgewater, a well-known name and the figurehead of another proud Stoke-on-Trent business.”
Dave Bott said: “We have expanded our pub fleet and are currently rolling out our café concept, called bod. This started in Bodmin Avenue, Stafford, proving remarkably successful with our largely local clientele. We then rolled it out into North Staffordshire, when we took the opportunity to take on the former first class lounge at Stoke Station, and we are now developing a bod in Trentham, and have a fourth in the pipeline at Newport, Shropshire.
“We are proud to have been at the forefront of that movement, and I’m personally pleased to say that we have been able to rescue several derelict pubs. Strong community pubs are part of the fabric of British life, and give people a place to meet, socialise and enjoy a drink in safe surroundings. I often say that pubs were Britain’s first social network.”
Titanic has gained a dual reputation, for award-winning beer and for developing its own estate. The brewery pioneered an idea to reinvigorate shut-down pubs, working in partnership with larger estate owners. This has now become more common across the UK and has led to an explosion of locally-branded pubs.
Titanic Brewery’s beer has led to many major awards, including a gold medal in the champion beer of Britain competition for its popular Plum Porter.
The company has also invested heavily in its brewery, based at Callender Place, Burslem, vastly expanding its beer range and capacity.