The Hanlons History

Since 1995 Hanlons has been brewing some of the best craft beers around but from the humble foundations in London and with the influence of its Irish founders Hanlons brewery has changed significantly in its time.


Started as the best ever year since the beginning of Hanlons – in the last 7 years we have gone from strength to strength –

thanks to our very loyal and growing customer base.  We work hard to give the best service we possibly can and have made some amazing friends in this most enjoyable trade. We also launched a new bottle beer this increased our bottle range to 5 now adding Fire Fly 3.8% favourite and this year we are launching our new CBD IPA – two years in the making.  After working with the farmers producing the organic hemp and having every step of the process tested we now have a fully traceable – organic – natural – amazing taste “Beer with Benefits”!!!  Watch this space.


Another very busy year with the purchase of Prescott Ales based just outside of Cheltenham in the April and supplying some amazing pubs from Bristol to the Cotswolds.  Prescott Ales are associated with the Prescott Hill Climb and the famous Bugatti Museum – with the labels and pump clips all being vintage cars.  This was an exciting move for us as it gave us

a wider customer base especially of pubs.  We now have a fantastic brand with great heritage and are proud to produce the Prescott beers – especially the new Super Six Craft range – winning another Gold this year in the Siba awards. Prescott also have a range of 3 bottles which complement the Hanlons Brands.

Another bottle was included to the range- Citra IPA and proved to be Hanlons second best selling ale (Yellow Hammer as number one)

The business also gained planning permission for 11 holiday lodges on the site and an extension of the restaurant and shop area.

The restaurant also joined forces with La Cantina Street Kitchen and renamed it Beer Factory and Kitchen- now open 5 days a week with a refreshed look and offering award winning burgers and beer 5 days a week in the restaurant and for takeaway.

The brewery also undertook a major refurbishment and invested in new brewing equipment trebling the size of the brewing capacity


Saw a big growth in the sale of bottles of beer – especially when all three bottles – Yellow Hammer, Stormstay and Port Stout had received Gold medals in the Taste of the West Awards.  Sales year on year had increased 55% on bottles and Hanlons had been presented with an amazing award

Best Producer Award – by Food and Drink Devon.  On top of this we got a SALSA Accreditation – so quite a year for us.


Hanlons were extremely busy and winning a number of awards still for all of their beers. Including becoming a finalist in the Camra Champion Beer of Britain Awards in Olympia, London for Port Stout. The plan was to try and get SALSA accreditation which was a great achievement for a smaller brewery.  We had added a new member to the sales team but otherwise work was as normal.


Production was flowing perfectly and more customers coming on board daily.  We also added a Tap Room/Bar with a viewing platform over the brewery which was proving to be very busy indeed.  Only open on Friday evenings but making a fun and friendly atmosphere for tasting our new beers.  The business saw substantial growth with a tripling of the original customer base. Stormstay was added to the Hanlons range of bottled beers.


Hanlons Bar opened providing a onsite space to try the best Hanlons has to offer


Copper Glow was first brewed and soon became the second most popular Hanlons Ale. A 4.2% Ruby Red Ale full of flavour and almost too easy to drink.


Moved to new location in  Half Moon Village and the business was bought by Dan Taylor and Jim Bungard with the existing staff all staying. The business was rebranded with a new logo and name ‘Hanlons’ and new pumpclips. The core range was reduced to 4 cask beers, Yellow Hammer, Stormstay, Port Stout and Firefly with seasonal additions. Also 2 bottled beers Yellow Hammer and Port Stout


O’Hanlons were involved in a TV programme hosted by Gerry Robinson


THA named overall champ in the international beer challenge.


Commissioned a new copper, doubling the manufacturing length.


Began the Production of Thomas Hardy Ales.


In 2000 the O’Hanlons Brewery moved to the farm buildings in Devon, deep down in a stretch of countryside, south of Exeter, beyond the M5.  An old orchard, its trees arthritic and bent and twisted with age, stands next to the ancient house, which sits on a site once mentioned in the Domesday Book; it’s a cob farmhouse that was derelict when the O’Hanlons moved in during 2000. A group of barns housed the brewery, the nerve centre of beer-making, an ensemble of stainless steel vessels and up-to- the-date computation, but still making beer whose essentials hadn’t changed for generations.


Meanwhile, Liz Johns wife, had started selling excess production into other local pubs (the Carpenters Arms for example) as well as into CAMRA strongholds. Demand grew at a reasonable pace and a very small bottling machine was bought, as John was convinced that bottled beers were the way forward.

Port Stout was the first bottled product and was mainly sold from The Beer Shop (one of the first dedicated beer emporiums in London).


Tiring of people asking for Guinness John started the brewery in the railway arch in Vauxhall. The first beer was Port Stout.

The initial aim was purely to supply the pub, and the first brews were Dry Stout  and Firefly as a session bitter. The name was chosen by a customer competition (winning free beer as a reward) and was won by a regular called Philippa Ditcham.  The core brands in the earliest days were, Blakeleys Best, Port & Dry Stout and Firefly.


In moving to London, John bought the 3 Crowns, a run down pub in a (then) unfashionable part of Islington/Clerkenwell, rechristening it O’Hanlons and quickly gaining a reputation as a true Irish pub, with an excellent lunchtime food reputation from the kitchen of Maeve O’Hanlon, Johns mother. The pub wasn’t far from newspaper journalists hunting grounds, and had many favourable writeups from, particularly, the Evening Standard.

O’Hanlon’s Brewery made a name for themselves in the way that they reached out and explained the nature of beer and brewing. It was never just about selling to pubs and the off-trade.

Pre 1995

Long ago when the world was younger, Kerry-born John O’Hanlon was a keen rugby player in the town of Dublin. After matches, battered and bruised, as rugby players were wont to do, a few pints of stout was the clarion call. Next morning, equally battered and bruised, some would make their way to the bar for a lunchtime libation — it is said, as with all legends and stories, that one canny barman used to mix in a glass of port with the stout; the name it was known as: ‘corpse-reviver’. Years later, this would become the foundation of O’Hanlon’s magnificent Port Stout.

John O’Hanlon moved to London and opened the O’Hanlons pub in a rougher part of Islington and spent his first six months establishing customers.

Multi-Award Winning

We are proud to have won a string of awards for our beers over the years including national and local accolades. Our passion for brewing coupled with our stringent production techniques helps us to create excellent beers as our awards testify.

Hanlons Brewery Today

There is so much going on at Hanlons Brewey today. Still producing the best ales found in many of your favourite pubs, you can also visit the brewery to buy products, have a delicious Friday night meal or book your next party or event.