All About JW Lees

JW Lees is a family brewery company which was founded in 1828 by retired cotton manufacturer John Lees. We’re based in Middleton in the North West of Manchester and own JW Lees Brewery, JW Lees Pubs, The Alderley Edge Hotel, The Trearddur Bay Hotel and Willoughby’s Wine Merchants. We’re a sixth-generation family business which employs just over 1,100 people, 141 at the brewery and site in Middleton Junction and 1000 in our 36 managed pubs, inns and hotels, as well as letting a further 107 pubs to our Pub Partners.
We put the brewery at the heart of our business and brew six cask ales as well as two lagers, five keg beers and six limited edition seasonal cask ales which are available throughout different times of the year. We also have the sole UK distribution rights for Bohemia regent Premium Lager from the Czech Republic. Willoughby’s is our wines and spirits company and we stock over 500 wines from all over the world.

Our History

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Where it all Began

Our founder, John Lees, was a well-known cotton manufacturer, owning mills across Manchester and in 1828, he sold it all. Taking his life in a new direction, he bought land at Middleton Junction and began to build Greengate Brewery where our legacy started.

A New Generation

John Lees’ grandson, John Willie Lees, took sole control of the Brewery and changed the name to JW Lees & Co. He didn’t just keep his nose stuck in a mash tun either, finding time to become Mayor of Middleton twice in later years.

Always Evolving

As the business began to grow, so did the public demand. With this in mind, John Willie decided to invest in the business by adding some major developments, including building a new and improved brewhouse.

Lees for Mayor

As if running a successful brewery wasn’t enough, John Willie Lees went on to become second Mayor of Middleton in 1888, enjoying a successful 2 years in his new role.

Saving the Brewery?

In 1954, the Chairman John Lees-Jones was inclined to accept an offer from Hammonds United Breweries, following the many difficult years the brewing industry experienced post-war. However, his brother Dick could not agree and in 1955, Dick bought out his brother.

The Fifth Generation

1957 was the year that Richard Lees-Jones joined the business. Richard is a part of the fifth generation of the Lees-Jones family and is our current Chairman.

Here’s to the Next 200 Years

190 years after our creation, we’re continuing to evolve and look for exciting new ways to keep our customers happy. We’ve recently announced the rebranding of our beers, which includes exciting new designs for both our permanent and seasonal range.

Meet the family

Richard Lees-Jones


Richard Lees-Jones has been with the company for an impressive 60 years, starting in 1957.

Christopher Lees-Jones

Vice Chairman

Joining shortly after Richard in 1960 was his brother Christopher Lees-Jones.

Simon Lees-Jones

Property Director

Simon Lees-Jones was the first of the sixth generation to start working at the brewery in 1993.

Christina Lees-Jones

Non-Executive & Former Catering Director

Also joining in 1993 was former Catering Director Christina Lees-Jones.

William Lees-Jones

Managing Director

Richard’s son William Lees-Jones then began working at the brewery the following year in 1994.

Michael Lees-Jones

Head Brewer

Following on from William was his cousin Michael Lees-Jones, who joined the company in 1999.

Anna Griffin

Non-Executive Director & Pensions Secretary

Anna joined the company in 2012 as a Director. She is the fifth member of the sixth generation of the family to become a Director.

Cask Ales, Keg Beers & Lagers

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