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Our heritage

Unicorn Brewery rests over the foundations of the Unicorn public house, marking the beginning of a family business which continues to thrive over 177 years later.

OVER 177 YEARS SINCE WILLIAM ROBINSON PURCHASED THE UNICORN

29th September 1838 is a landmark in the history of Robinsons Brewery.

THE ROBINSONS STORY

The story of Robinsons is one that stretches back over 177 years, from humble beginnings to becoming one of the UK’s largest independent family brewers, with 300 pubs across the North West and Wales. 

1838. 
William Robinson purchases The Unicorn pub, Lower Hillgate, Stockport, from Samuel Hole.

1849.
William remarries, moves to Heaton Norris, leaving George, his eldest son, to run the Inn. George starts to brew the first Robinsons ale. 

1859. 
William’s younger son Frederic takes over the pub and buys a warehouse behind it, so brewing capacity can be expanded. Robinsons ale is now available to many pubs in and around Stockport. 

1878 
Frederic buys 12 exclusive public houses for Robinsons ales between now and his death in 1890.

Family Heritage

1899. 
Frederic and Emma Robinson's son, went on to marry Priscilla Needham and became Chairman of Frederic Robinson Limited in 1920.

Early 20th Century. 
Frederic’s widow Emma owns the business and, prior to her death, Frederic Robinson Limited is formed. Fourth generation Robinsons join the board.

1908 - 1933
Bottling commences in a new building.  New offices and a new brew house are built. 

1943. 
The first Welsh public house, The Black Lion, is bought. The Robinsons estate continues to grow. 

1958.

William’s great grandson John is honoured with a Knighthood, for political and public services. 

1975. 

A new-build packaging centre opens in Bredbury.

Over the past 40 years: 

  • Robinsons bottled ales are distributed worldwide
  • Sixth generation members of the family join the company
  • £5 million investment in a new brew house
  • Training Centre of Excellence and Visitor Centre open

And that’s only part of the story! The Robinsons story is not just about the history of a brewery, it’s about a family, which has played – and continues to play – an immensely important role in the British brewing and pub industry. 

Interested in learning more about story? Our Visit England accredited Visitors Centre unearths all the best kept secrets behind the brewing process. Take the time to journey through the brew house and learn all about what makes our hopnik and cereal cooker so special. You’ll also get the opportunity to meet Hopnik and Wizard, two of the few remaining ‘working’ shire horses in the British brewing industry. 

Book your brewery tour online or call 0161 612 4100 for more information.

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  • Robinsons brewery heritage
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  • robinsons brewery heritage
  • robinsons brewery heritage
  • robinsons brewery experience
  • Robinsons brewery heritage
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