The Three Brewers

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Bass, Butler and Worthington Hinckley’s Great Brewers

As it’s now 300 years since his birth we must raise our glasses to celebrate the life of William Bass. Bass together with two other talented sons of Hinckley, William Butler and William Worthington, became three of Britain’s finest brewers. The companies they created went on to produce beers of national and international fame such as Draught Bass with its iconic Red Triangle Trademark No 1.

The family home of William Bass, shown here, still stands on Castle Street. William Butler was born in New Buildings and William Worthington was born in the nearby village of Orton-on-the-Hill.

The cream building was the home and business base of William Bass and is the location for an historic Blue Plaque commemorating his life. Bass was the greatest of our three brewers. His family brewed beer in Hinckley; a brewhouse still exists in Crown & Anchor Yard. They also ran or owned pubs in the town and several family members are buried in St Mary’s Churchyard. Most of William’s working life was spent in Hinckley where he got to know brewing and the pub trade inside out.

He also became a carrier of beer. Operating from a yard behind his home, his shire horses and drays delivered beer to pubs in nearby counties. W Bass & Co. prospered as did the family wealth and the ambition to build a large brewery. William married the daughter of a publican and their children, immersed into the brewing and pub trade, were destined to grow the Bass business empire.

Although Hinckley had good spring water for brewing, Bass realised that its poor transport links hindered beer distribution. So, albeit in later life, he moved to Burton-on-Trent. Not only did Burton have excellent water, it had good transport links to London and export markets. As we know that move was highly successful. However, it is true to say that the foundations of the world class Bass Brewery in Burton were probably laid in Hinckley.

Celebrating the lives of our Three Brewers a series of special events will be held in spring and summer. Look out for an exhibition at Hinckley Museum, the unveiling of Blue Plaques, the Bass pub trail with prizes to be won, coach and minibus trips, our beer festival with historic beers and a party at a pub formerly owned by the Bass family.

The Greyhound is located close to birthplace of William Butler and is the location for an historic Blue Plaque commemorating his life.The Unicorn at Orton on the Hill is the location for a William Worthington Blue Plaque who was born on a local farm.

Also see Hinckley Times "Three Brewers" Article

Hinckley and Bosworth CAMRA and Hinckley and District Museum
are organising the following events to celebrate the lives of
William Bass, William Butler and William Worthington:

Monday 17th April – October 31st 2017

ALL HAIL THE ALE – Three Brewers Exhibition at Hinckley and District Museum – memorabilia and original artifacts related to the history of the three brewers

Saturday 3rd June, 11.30am – Castle Street/New Buildings – unveiling of two historic Blue Plaques to Bass and Butler

24th July – 8th Sept – William Bass Pubs Trail 13 great pubs to visit – win free pints. See Bass Ale Trail Pubs/Clubs

Saturday 5th August Two Events

1 Bass Brewery Shire Horses at Hinckley and District Museum

2 Visit to National Brewery Centre Burton-on-Trent followed by a tour of town pubs

Tuesday 22nd August – Unveiling of blue plaque to William Worthington at the Unicorn, Orton on the Hill:-


To honour the life of the GREAT BRITISH BREWER WILLIAM WORTHINGTON, born in 1723 at Orton-on-the-Hill near Twycross, an historic BLUE PLAQUE will be unveiled at the pub at 7.30pm on TUESDAY 22nd AUGUST by Steve Wellington former Head Brewer of the Worthington Brewery Burton-on-Trent

Visit the pub for the event and also meet William Worthington in period costume and see the Vintage Brewing Industry Vehicle ALE 1!


14th–16th Sept 10th Annual Hinckley Beer Festival with Heritage Beers at the Atkins Building and a free visit to Hinckley and District Museum for festival attendees

5th October - Grand Party at a local pub once owned by Bass family – the Queens Head

Updated 8 August 2017