tetley's: a history

Tetley's links with Yorkshire date back to 1822 when Joshua Tetley bought a brewery in Leeds for £400.

Joshua Tetley believed he could repeat the success of the London breweries in the North, where very few brewers had survived. A year later he was 2,700 in debt, but his insistence on using quality ingredients paid off. Tetley's Cask Ale is still brewed in traditional Yorkshire Square fermenting vessels to give it a full-bodied roasted malt flavour.

The business took off and Tetley and Son was created in 1839 when Joshua made his son, Francis, a partner. Joshua died in 1859 at the age of 81 and his son inherited the family business, which went public in 1897.

In 1911 Tetley's hit the headlines by nearly drowning the legendary escapologist Harry Houdini, pictured left. As a publicity stunt Houdini had asked local firms to devise a means of securing him so he couldn't escape.

Tetley's challenged him to free himself from a padlocked metal cask full of beer, but during the escape at the Empire Theatre in Briggate, Leeds, Houdini had to be rescued partly conscious from the cask. The joke was that while most people were running after Tetley's, Houdini had had a narrow escape.

Through the 20th Century, Tetley's went through a number of partnerships and takeovers and in 1998 Danish brewer Carlsberg took over the company.