We won it!

Having been runners up twice in the national pub design awards we have finally won it for the Red Lion on the site of our brewery in market Drayton.  To say we are all thrilled is an understatement. 

The Campaign for Real ale and English Heritage have today announced the winners for this year’s national pub design award.

The awards are the most prestigious in pub design where the judges aim to showcase the very best in pub design with an emphasis on restoration.  The awards were established in 1983 and recognise the unique status of the British pub unique throughout the world and especially reward sensitive restoration.

Trudie Meredith of Joule’s, ‘The nations pub stock is unique in the world, these are building that have stood often for centuries, changing of course, but still forming the central hub of our sociability.  There are no parallels in the world for the British pub – the best of them have our dna soaked into the walls and we still use them today as generations have before us.  Joule’s has a tradition established in the pub trade – it’s very much our root, so we are immensely proud to have been recognised by CAMRA and English Heritage for the best refurbishment this year, and especially s for the Brewery itself.  Joules is passionate about the British pub, it’s our heartbeat, and one of the reasons we only sell our beer in pubs – and never in supermarkets.


Joule’s Brewery has won the largest category for refurbishment for its work at The Red Lion in Market Drayton and the integration of the new Joule’s Brew House.  The Brewery worked hard with Shropshire Council, conservation officer Philip Belchere and Ruth Hitchen.  The Red Lion is a 17th century inn and a grade two listed building.


Ruth Hitchen ‘This has been an extraordinary project, both to treat the original inn sensitively whilst also allowing the new brewery to sit alongside.  The brewery is a large building to sit adjacent to a listed building, but is a great design success by the skilful way it knits into the original using the old stable buildings as the interface, which has now become the centre of the new pub.  This clever link has allowed the original inn to be freed up and allow the parlour rooms, which is how they would have been before the development of bar counters, to be recreated.  As part of the development the original building can now been seen and used in a way which complements it whilst maintaining a clean line between the original inn and the new brewery.



Philip Belchere ‘The brewery had to have presence and the potential to be an iconic building, it’s unusual to have such a substantial building on the skyline to be built in the middle of a medieval town, opposite an ancient church right on the high street, that’s quite a demand!  For this reason the devil had to be in the detail – the right blend of oak and brick, the iconic tower and large open windows make this both rooted in craftsmanship, unapologetically of the 21st century but very natural with some agricultural references for a country town.  The result is outstanding, it looks comfortable and sits very quietly, it already feels like it belongs there.  It is a development that the town is rightly proud of as well as the county.  It is the kind of development we have supported in north Shropshire and we are delighted that it has received national recognition; it gives us all a great lift.

The judges selected Joule’s Brewery Tap both for the bold and impressive design of the original Inn and also for the ‘mouse room’ a delightful oak panelled room that has housed panelling originally crafted by Robert Thompson ‘the museum’ featuring seven of his signature mice.  Originally commissioned for a board room for the Grattan catalogue Joule’s bought the panels and fireplace at auction and designed the new room around it.

‘Steve Nuttall of Joule’s ‘we wanted something that reflected our ambition in brewing, pure solid English craftsmanship, we were lucky to have been looking when the ‘mouseman’ came up, so we jumped at the opportunity.  Our premium beer ‘Slumbering Monk’ is named after one of the carvings in the room.  This open room, airy and bright contracts with the nooks and crannies of the Old Inn, and overlooks the Brew House.  This was key for us.  Visitors can see us brewing the beer, not many breweries have that – it keeps us on our toes.’

The judges also commented on the intense attention to detail in the refurbishment and the use of the highest quality materials.  A key criterion is to protect the legacy of the pub and Joule’s Brewery is built to last and made up of the finest materials.  Perhaps the most poignant embodiment of Joule’s commitment to history, lies in its commission to paint 8 of the craftsmen who completed the works, all wearing monks habits – a further nod to history and the origins of Joule’s Pale Ale, first brewed by Augustinian monks.  In centuries to come the first of these Chris Blasé a local bricklayer look benevolently down on you as you sip the delicate golden ale – today you will find him in the bar most evenings, like the best of the English pubs past, present and future mingling in the walls of our finest Inns.  Joule’s Red Lion in Market Drayton, now nationally recognised as one of them. 

Owen Paterson, Secretary of State and MP for North Shropshire described the brewery as “amazing” and praised the work put in by staff. He commented “The Joule’s brand has been revived and the pub restored with an added entertainment room, the mouseroom, with fine oak panelling carved by the famous mouse man. It’s absolutely brilliant that they have built this amazing traditional brewery, with all the very latest technology, smack bang in the middle of Market Drayton.”

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