This film is part of Free

What's Brewing

A fascinating guide through the process of making a now vanished cask ale in Yorkshire in the 1950s, with the adding of extra dry hops and sugar to wooden casks to prime the beer.

Amateur film 1959 20 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


A rare chance to see the making of cask-conditioned beer, in wooden casks, before the arrival of metal casks and the large increase in keg beers. Even rarer to see the workings of the soon to be defunct Melbourne Brewery in Leeds in the late 1950s, and drinking in the similarly bygone Step Inn pub.

This film was made by the 8mm section of Leeds Camera Club, whose origins go back to 1893, with the Cine Group of Leeds Camera Club forming in 1945, subsequently becoming Leeds Cine Club in 1965, and later renamed Leeds Movie Makers (not to be confused with the 16 mm sub-group, Mercury Movie Makers). The film must have been made in the late 1950s, just after the Brewery re-took the name of Melbourne Brewery in 1957 – up until then named as part of Leeds & Wakefield Breweries. But the company merged with Tetley in April 1960 – itself taken over by Allied Breweries in 1961 – after which brewing of Melbourne beer ceased at the brewery in Plum Street, Leeds, although it then apparently brewed Tetley Mild for two more years.