Leading Manchester brewer, JW Lees, has launched The History of Beer – an interactive timeline depicting the colourful story of the world’s favourite drink – in celebration of its latest seasonal ale, Pioneer.

The online bible of fermented facts begins over 3,000 years ago in 1350BC and describes how ancient Sumatrans consumed their home-made brews using special drinking straws.

It goes on to highlight amongst others, Roman Britain’s tabernacles, the birth of bottled beer in the 16th century, the brewing revolution of the 19th century, the formation of CAMRA in 1971 and Gordon Brown’s fabled 2002 budget which led to a proliferation of microbreweries.

JW Lees, which was established in Middleton in 1828, also takes its rightful place in amongst the historical sequence.

William Lees-Jones, JW Lees’ Managing Director, said: “Pioneer, as its name suggests, pays homage to our founding forefather, John Lees, who established our brewery 188 years ago in 1828. While considering his enormous contribution to the brewing industry, we began to think about how beer has been enjoyed in so many forms since the dawn of time.

“We wanted to celebrate the incredible evolution of the world’s most popular tipple by producing a fun-filled, fact-laden, ‘pub ammo’ style piece of interactive content and so ‘The History of Beer’ was born.  It’s certainly not an exhaustive account but has been designed to spark debate and banter in pubs and on social media.  We hope that drinkers and lovers of beer trivia will take pleasure in immersing themselves in the timeline, preferably whilst enjoying a pint of our very own Pioneer”.

Pioneer, a 4.1% ABV pale ale, will be sold throughout JW Lees’ pub estate and free trade pubs during March and April.

JW Lees’ History of Beer can be found at