Bedford’s family brewer Wells & Co will be celebrating this Sunday (22 October), on what would have been the 174th birthday of one of their first-generation family founders.
Josephine Wells was the wife of brewery founder Charles Wells and has recently been given her rightful place in Bedford’s brewing history, thanks to wider recognition in their history and rebranding of their beer range and around Brewpoint brewery.
To mark the milestone, the brewery is pledging its continued support of local organisations and clubs across the area and also releasing a new limited edition beer.
“History tells us Josephine Wells was a remarkable woman,” said Jonny Kirkham, Wells & Co’s head of sales & brand marketing.
“She and Charles bore eight children together from 1873 to 1884. This means she will have cared for eight kids under 11 years old, during the years Charles established Charles Wells Ltd at Horne Lane (now Riverside North) in the town.
“Josephine kept the home fires burning so Charles was able to expand his brewing and pub business. The important role she played in supporting Charles and the family during this period cannot be underestimated.”
Now recognised as the “true wind in Charlie’s sails” and the “captain of the Wells family ship”, Josephine also helped raise the brewery’s future workforce, with four of their children going on to work in or run the legacy she Charles had created together.
Partnerships across Bedford Borough
While Wells & Co has enhanced its history, to show that if it wasn’t for Josephine Wells & Co wouldn’t exist, they say they’re also now looking to create a better future across Bedford Borough.
This is with a programme of support aimed at giving “genuine help” to various clubs and organisations across Bedford Borough, with new partnerships at:
- Bedford Blues
- Bedford Tigers Rugby League
- Riverside Tennis
- Bedford Cricket Club
- Bedford Ath Rugby Club
- Sharnbrook theatre
- Real Bedford F.C.
They’ve also joined other businesses across the Borough and committed to helping preserve the future of local media as a Bedford Independent Patron.
Jonny says they want to build on the connection Wells & Co has had with Bedford since 1875 when Charles Wells bought the Horne Lane brewery and 35 pubs at an auction held at the Swan Hotel.
“Nearly 150 years later, and now brewing at our third site in the town as Brewpoint, our aim is to provide Bedford with a brewery it can be proud of,” added Jonny.
“We are proud of our roots here and we remain a Wells family-run and independent business.
“Over the past 12 months, we have established partnerships with many local sports teams and Bedford-based institutions. Our approach is to genuinely support our partners with some of their ambitions and humbly, help them progress.”
To mark Josephine’s 174th birthday, Wells & Co are also launching a limited-edition beer
‘Compass’ is an amplified pilsner recipe fermented up to ‘Imperial’ levels of alcohol, then aged for over a year in ex-Chardonnay French oak barrels.
It will be available in keg and a limited run of 375ml bottles from Sunday (22 October) and compliments the new range of brands that are “a love letter to Josephine” and are built upon a modern image her, which can be found in the beer branding as a “tribute to her importance whilst looking to the future at the same time”.