A stroke of good luck enabled Jamie Allsopp to restore one of the most famous names in British brewing along with its leading beers Pale Ale and IPA. 

Jamie is the seven times great grandson of Samuel Allsopp, a leading brewer in Burton-on-Trent in the 19th century.

Allsopp harnessed the mineral-rich waters of the Trent Valley to develop new pale ales that revolutionised brewing both in Britain and on a world scale. 

The good luck came when veteran brewer Steve Holt, who runs the Kirkstall Brewery in Leeds and is an avid collector of breweriana, bought a ledger in an auction that contained Allsopp’s recipes from the 19th century. 

This was manna from heaven for Jamie Allsopp, who is the cousin of TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp.

He worked as a hedge fund manager in the City of London and he used the money he made there to restore the family tradition with Samuel Allsopp & Sons in 2020. 

He took the brewing ledger, which dates from 1934, to Jim Applebee, an experienced brewer in Burton, and interpretations of Allsopp’s IPA and Pale Ale were produced in Leeds. 

"But we’re going back to Burton," Jamie says emphatically. "I’m in discussion with the local council to find a suitable site." 

Brewing the beers in Burton will restore the heritage of the Allsopps, though the brewery began in 1742 with the name of Benjamin Wilson. His son, also Benjamin, turned it into the biggest and most influential brewery in the town. 

Wilson Jnr had no children. He employed his nephew Samuel Allsopp and sold the business to him in 1807.  

Allsopp was encouraged by the East India Company that exercised near monopoly control over trade in the sub-continent to send beer to India. But the EIC stressed it should be a paler and more refreshing one than the dark milds, porters and stouts sent there. 

Allsopp was given bottles of pale beer brewed by Hodgson’s Brewery in East London and exported to India. Hodgson had angered the East India Company by not paying his bills and Allsopp was encouraged to work with the EIC to replace the London brewer. 

Allsopp took samples of Hodgson’s beer back to Burton where he presented them to his head brewer, Job Goodhead, who said that, by preparing his malt to a paler colour, he could produce a similar beer to Hodgson’s.

In fact, the Trent water, rich in gypsum and magnesium, enhanced both the malt and hop character of his beer and soon Allsopp’s pale ale was outselling Hodgson’s in India. The Burton brewers also turned their attention to the domestic market with lower strength pale ales. 

In 1934 Allsopp merged with its next-door neighbour to form Ind Coope & Allsopp. In the 1960s the company joined with Ansells of Birmingham and Tetley of Leeds to form Allied Breweries.

This brewing and pub-owning giant went through several ownerships and eventually in 1991 it became part of a joint venture called Carlsberg-Tetley. Brewing ceased in Burton. 

Now Jamie Allsopp is restoring the key beers brewed in Burton. He uses a blend of Chevallier and Maris Otter malts with Fuggles and Goldings hops for Pale Ale (four per cent) and IPA (five per cent). Crucially, Jamie was able to get the original Allsopp’s yeasts from the NCYC – the National Collection of Yeast Cultures -- in Norwich.  

Jamie was also able to restore the famous Allsopp’s Red Hand trademark that was first registered in 1876. 

In December Jamie unveiled a Special Release version of IPA with a redoubtable strength of 10% that has been aged in both whisky and Bourbon oak casks. It celebrates the revival of Allsopp’s beers and will be used to toast their return to Burton. 

The beers can be bought online from www.allsopps.com.