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The story behind Timothy Taylor's Boltmaker's new name?

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

It’s no secret amongst my friends that I am a fan of Timothy Taylor’s beers – with Landlord and Boltmaker being particular favourites.

Whilst Timmy Taylor’s Landlord as we fondly call it, had been around for donkeys years, Boltmaker had previously been called plain old Best Bitter up until a few years ago, so I thought I would investigate a bit further and see if there was a story behind the name change?

A bit of background about Timothy Taylors history to set the scene…

The brewery has been around a good many years born in the centre of Keighley at Cook Lane in 1858. The town was a thriving textile manufacturing centre in Victorian times and obviously would have had plenty of mill workers with thirsts to quench!

The brewery was founded by the man himself Timothy Taylor –and still remains in the Taylor family to this day.

Needing larger premises they moved the brewery to Knowle Spring in 1863 – now the name of one of Timothy Taylor’s popular recently launched blonde beers. Fast forwarding on a couple of generations Philip Taylor extended the brewery in 1894 sinking a deep well into an aquifer of pure spring water that still supplies their water to this day.

“When a Yorkshireman finds a source of pure spring water, he doesn’t bottle it. He builds a brewery on it!”

In 1952 – another Philip Taylor creates a beer which eventually becomes called Landlord – a top recommend from myself when the pubs re-open, but still a great beer out of a bottle and available in many supermarkets and off licences.

The brewery continued through the generations – and has regularly won awards for its beers.

But back to Boltmaker.

Timothy Taylor’s Best Bitter was first produced in 1932, when the Sales Manager demanded a beer to compete with Barnsley Bitter – the market leader at the time.

Then back in 1962, Timothy Taylor’s brewery ran a competition to re-name one of their other popular beers – the winning entry being Landlord and Timmy Taylors landlord has since grown to become an iconic Yorkshire brand.

So moving onto 2012, the board at Timothy Taylors decided to have another competition to come up with a name for their Best Bitter which had been around for 80 years. They wanted a name with a bit more character and marketability.

The winner was Boltmaker – and it was proposed by Phil Booth, the Landlord of the Boltmaker’s Arms in Keighley. How’s that for ticking all the boxes!

As well as the links to the Keighley Pub which sells Timothy Taylors beers – it also had a strong link to the town’s engineering history and the making of bolts by local engineering companies.

Within hours of the new branding – Boltmaker was proclaimed Champion Beer in the Bitter Category by the Yorkshire & North East Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). Since then it won the Champion Beer in Britain CAMRA award in 2014 and Best British Bitter in 2016, plus many more awards.

Timothy Taylors describe Boltmaker as – “ a well balanced, genuine Yorkshire Bitter , with a full measure of maltiness and hoppy aroma” and who am I to disagree. They sell it in my local The Queens in Burley in Wharfedale and I am already looking forward to the day it re-opens and I can sit there savouring a hand-pulled pint!


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