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Origins of English beer names - Snecklifter

Updated on October 19, 2012

Snecklifter poster.

Poster at the Bridge Inn, Santon Bridge.
Poster at the Bridge Inn, Santon Bridge. | Source


Jennings Lakeland Brewery was founded in Lorton, a small village between Keswick and Cockermouth in 1828 by John Jennings. The brewery developed quickly and outgrew the little hamlet of Lorton necessitating the need for larger maltings and a building to house larger fermenting vessels. Cockermouth, the nearest market town was the ideal base for expansion as it had a much larger population and the Castle was the ideal site having an abundant supply of pure well water which had been used by the Castle since Norman times.

The Jennings connection with the business finished in 2005 when the brewery was taken over by Marstons.

My favourite Jennings tipple is the wonderful award winning Snecklifter. It won the Gold award in the 2009 International Beer Challenge, to go along with the Bronze award in the International Cask Ale competition at the Brewing Industry International Awards last year, to go along with the Bronze won at the 2005 Brewing Industry International Awards held in Munich.

It was originally a winter beer and is very strong and very malty.

I'm sure that we all know a Snecklifter; Sneck is the old fashioned word for a door latch and a Snecklifter was a guy who hung around the pub with his last sixpence, just enough to buy himself a beer. He would then hang around the pub in the hope that other people would buy him a pint.

Mind you if they had been making Snecklifter back in those days I wouldn't have blamed him, the ideal pint after a cold wintery day's climbing the fells.


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