Hook Norton Brewery Shire Horses
There are few better sights than one of Hook Norton’s beautiful shire horses, stamping its feet and snorting on a cold winter’s morning, fully harnessed to pull its loaded dray through local Cotswold villages and country lanes.
These wonderful ‘workhorses’ have been an integral part of brewery life since day one and for many, many years, were the reliable backbone of its delivery system.
At present the Brewery has three shire horses, Nelson, Major, and Albert. Our shire horses are looked after by long serving drayman, Roger Hughes.
The sight of two shire horses leaving the brewery is extremely impressive and is a thrilling part of any visitor’s tour. If you are planning a visit to the brewery and would like to see the drays on their regular delivery rounds it is always best to phone ahead and check that the shires will be working on that day. In any event, the tour of the brewery includes a tour of the stables so you won’t miss out on seeing these amazing animals.
Tel: 01608 737210
The Dray Delivery Schedule
Out and about in the community - Dray Events Diary
Our horse and dray also attend lots of events in and around the region. Our Dray Events Diary provides details of the events we are planning to attend in the coming year.
At the turn of the century, the brewery books record 8 horses being stabled on site but it is thought that many more horses, possibly up to 30 in total, would have been stabled elsewhere around the region. This would allow the brewery to deliver much further afield, through a network of ‘outriders’ (sales agents) who would take the beer on to towns outside the immediate vicinity of the brewery. The brewery often even purchased a dray and horses on behalf of the outriders.
During the 1920s, tarmac was introduced to many country roads – a surface which was extremely unsuitable for horses. That, combined with the introduction of motor lorries, heralded the gradual reduction in the number of horses that were used by the brewery until they were eventually phased out completely in the early 1950s.
The stables at Hook Norton stood empty until 1985 when the Brewery decided to re-introduce these majestic animals to deliver beer within a five mile radius of the brewery and also to attend local events and open days – a living reminder of the Brewery’s heritage.
Dray Events Diary
| 7th April 2013
||Heythrop Team Chase
|4th May 2013
||Long Ichington Beer Festival (awaiting confirmation)
|27th May 2013
||Shipston Wool Fair
|2nd June 2013
||Food Fair, Evesham
|14th June 2013
||Stratford Food Festival, Stratford Racecourse
|27th July 2013
||Dogs for the Disabled, Stoneleigh Park
|10th August 2013
||South Newington Flower Show
|24th August 2013
||Enstone Village Fete
|28th August 2013
|7th September 2013