*John Ruskin writing of his memory of the River Wandle (Autobiography, “Praeterita”, 1885-89).
M @londonist.com reported on 24.2.15:
“…John Hatch is the sole remaining beer maker at Wandsworth’s Ram Brewery, where brown booze has been crafted since Tudor times.
From the 19th century, The Ram became intimately associated with Young’s and Co, who brewed on this site between 1831 and 2006, when operations moved to Bedford. Chairman John Young, great-great grandson of the founder, died just days before the closure, and the last batch of Wandsworth beer was served at his funeral.
That might have been that. The oldest site of continuous brewing in Britain, so it’s claimed, looked set to discontinue brewing.
But John Hatch had other ideas…
When Young’s closed in 2006, the developers moved in. Old warehouses were demolished. Heritage sites were protected.
…John then escorted us to his pride and joy: the ‘nanobrewery’ in which he’s carried on the brewing tradition since 2006. John is a former Young’s brewer, but now makes his ale on behalf of the site’s developer, Greenland. When he heard that Young’s was to sell the brewery site, he approached the developer and offered his services as site manager. He now brews at least one batch a week, meaning that the complex can still claim to be Britain’s oldest site of continual brewing. This seems to have gone down well with flat hunters. The majority of sales are going to British buyers, unlike many new developments that sell out primarily to overseas investors. Us Brits love our beer.
John’s tiny brewery uses salvaged equipment from the Young’s days. It’s currently housed in the Ram’s old stable block. Horses could be found here until the site’s closure in 2006, along with geese and a token ram.
The beer is superb. Even at a week old, the 5.2% Wilky Warmer went down as well as anything you’d find in a Young’s pub. Alas, you can’t just turn up to this tap room. A drink here is pretty much by invitation only. This will change with the opening of the Ram Quarter development and the expiration of that 10-year veto. John’s future, and the future of brewing in Wandsworth, look bright. With a public microbrewery and brewing museum set to open alongside the new apartment blocks, there’s every reason to hope that beer will continue to be brewed on the banks of the Wandle for another 500 years.”
From the website of Sambrook’s Brewery:
“In 2020, we announced a move to the home of London Brewing, the Ram Quarter in Wandsworth. The Ram is the longest continually brewery site in the UK, with brewing dating back to 1533, and is the former home of Young’s Brewery. When they closed their doors in 2006, the brewing heritage was kept alive by Young’s former Master Brewer John Hatch, who operated a nanobrewery on site from 2006 to 2020. Now he passes on the baton to Sambrook’s and will join the team in our journey as custodians of this historic location.
But we’re no longer going to be just a brewery. We plan to build a state-of-the-art taproom, kitchen and events space as we launch the Sambrook’s Pub Company. The first in a string of planned pub ventures, the modern taproom will become a community hub, serving up the freshest beer in South West London directly from our brewery next door alongside some of the best artisanal pizza you’ll find in in the city.
We’ll also be opening a museum, and visitor centre that showcases the history of the site. This Heritage Centre will be a tribute to the great people that built the iconic site and operated it over the years. With the help of John Hatch, you’ll even be able to become a “brewer for a day”.
And of course, we’ll have our on site shop where you can browse our range…
Take all that together, and we’re aiming to create nothing less than London’s premier beer experience. To say we’re excited is an understatement! Installation work is currently underway and our brewhouse and Heritage Centre are slated for a winter 2020 opening with the taproom to follow in spring 2021. Sambrook’s is the oldest independent brewery in London and we’re here to stay. Join us in the next chapter of our history…”