All About JW Lees
JW Lees is a family brewery company, 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.
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.
As the business began to grow, so did 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.