Kathryn Hey

Kathryn Hey, who has been working on the history of her family’s brewery, in front of a exhibition at The Exchange, Bradford


Bradford Brewery is recreating the golden years of the brewing industry with a beer paying homage to the city’s now defunct Hey’s brewery.

The Hey’s Gold Premium has been brewed by head brewer, Graeme Rothery, on behalf of Kathryn Hey — a family descendant who’s been working tirelessly to preserve the heritage of the historic company.

The beer was launched with a celebratory event at Bradford Brewery’s recently reopened Exchange Ale House, on Market Street, Bradford, yesterday. The choice of venue added more nostalgic flavour as the Exchange will be remembered by many as Spinks Bar, one of the original Hey’s pubs.

Thirty-eight casks of Hey’s Gold Premium have been brewed and the beer will be on sale in bars across Yorkshire and Manchester in the run-up to Christmas. It’s a modern take on Hey’s award-winning Gold Cup, using a recipe formulated by Leeds master brewer Dave Sanders and refined by Graeme.

At 4.5% ABV, it features English hops Fuggles and East Kent Goldings, with Saaz hops added late in the copper boil, mirroring the practice once used by Hey’s to give the original Gold Cup a continental bitter edge. Pale malt and a small proportion of caramalt provide the body of the beer.

It builds on the success of last year’s Hey’s Gold ale, which was created by Kathryn in collaboration with Bingley Brewery to mark the 50th anniversary of the closure of Hey’s.

Hey’s Brewery

Joseph Hey founded the company in 1898 at the Northbrook Brewery, Wilson Square, Lumb Lane, Bradford, where it operated until 1966, when it was bought out by Samuel Webster’s, of Ovenden Wood, Halifax. At its peak, the company had 75 pubs, including Spinks, which was once a fine dining restaurant and became an
outlet for Hey’s beers.

The brewery also had close links with Bradford City football club, Park Avenue county cricket club and numerous sporting and other organisations in the area.

The closure of Hey’s brought an end to the brewing industry in Bradford city centre, until it was revived in 2015 with the opening of Bradford Brewery, off Westgate, just a short distance away from the old Hey’s site.

Managing director of Bradford Brewery, Phillip Ogg, said: “The revival of the brewing industry in Bradford city centre has always been an important part of our ethos and we love what Kathryn is doing to bring all these memories back to life. Everyone at Bradford Brewery is delighted to be a part of it, and we’re especially pleased to be able to launch the beer at our Exchange bar, which is another key part of the story.”

Kathryn Hey said: “The response to our anniversary beer was absolutely brilliant, so I wanted to build on that and on all the precious memories that came to light. It’s fabulous that we now have Bradford Brewery working with us because there are so many links, not least with the Exchange bar, a part of the Hey’s heritage still evident across Bradford. Reuniting people in an original Hey’s pub to sample the beer and relive old times is really the icing on the cake.”

Employees’ memories

Geoff Poole, 70, recalls his mother working in the bottling plant with his father, ‘Brighouse Jack’, one of three
brothers at the brewery maltings in Brighouse. The couple met at work, like many others, with the family living in brewery houses in Laburnum Street.

Geoff said: “We were like one big family and everyone became friends… It was great when Bradford Brewery opened up just a quarter of a mile away, bringing back some memories, and now they will actually be serving Hey’s ale from what was Spinks Bar, one of the most popular places in the area, during the 1960s.”

Andrew Reed, 68, joined Hey’s as an office junior, aged 16, and met his wife Susan there. He is still notorious for having to be carried home in a dray after the brewery Xmas party.

He said: “It’s a brilliant idea to bring it all back to life. Hey’s was a significant concern in Bradford and people remember it with great fondness. It was a very friendly place to work and it has a nostalgic place in a lot of people’s memories.”

Rosemary Peel, 75, was receptionist at Hey’s from 1958 to 1963 and her husband Harry, 80, was a drayman, following in the footsteps of his father. The couple also met at the brewery where Rosemary already knew her father-in- law to be.

She said: “I think it’s lovely that the Hey’s name is being kept alive and it all brings back a lot of memories. I dealt with the Spinks bar regularly, taking orders on the phone. It’s really nice to see that Bradford Brewery has re-opened it and brought all those memories back to life.”

Among the guest yesterday was cult rock icon John Otway, a personal friend of Kathryn’s. He said: “Not all Otway Fans are equal — and, being a human rock star, it’s inevitable a certain amount of favouritism creeps in.

“Sometimes it’s not just how much they like your music Occasionally other elements can affect the order and who gets the accolade of Biggest Fan. In this case it was the simple expression of a little-known fact: ‘Did you know I’ve got my own beer?’ Followed by: ‘And I’ve got a new brew coming out — you can be the first to try.’ Plus getting the affirmative when asked ‘CAMRA discount?’ That’s probably the reason for the pedestal Kathryn finds herself on now.”

Spinks Bradford

Spinks Bar, Bradford, owned by Hey’s Brewery, now Bradford Brewery ale house, The Exchange.
Photo courtesy of Denis Birkby

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