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Best Brewery Tours in Cornwall: St Austell Brewery

Updated on April 29, 2013

St Austell Brewery Tour

What beer lover doesn't love a tour round a brewery - and St Austell Brewery, in St Austell, is probably Cornwall's premier brewery, so well worth a visit.

The brewery tour takes about an hour, as small groups are guided round the Victorian St Austell Brewery, seeing beer being made at every stage. You get to speak directly with the brewery staff, asking them questions about what they're doing. Discover about the secret spring that supplies the water for St Austell Brewery!

You get to see (and smell!) the hops - and at the end, you get to taste the beer in St Austell's private bar.

Discover the story of St Austell Brewery's pubs, their beers, wines and spirits, and also about the history of the Brewery and the family that started it all.

Best Brewery Tours of Cornwall - St Austell Brewery.
Best Brewery Tours of Cornwall - St Austell Brewery.

St Austell Brewery: A Short History

Here's a quick overview of some of the historical highlights of the St Austell Brewery - you can find out much more detailed information, along with photos, documents and artefacts in the St Austell Brewery Museum.

  • The business started in 1851, when Walter Hicks started supplying malt locally and in 1863 he bought his first inn, The Seven Stars Inn, and started brewing his own beer.
  • In 1869 he built a steam brewery in the centre of St Austell, the building's still standing, but no longer a brewery.
  • In 1876 St Austell Brewery got connected to the new-fangled telephone system, their number was simply "4".
  • In 1893 a new brewery was opened on Trevarthian Road and in 1906 he bought a steam-driven vehicle to deliver the beer locally. In 1926 they bought a couple of lorries, to replace horses in delivering beer.
  • In 1912 the St Austell Brewery found a new fresh water spring, called The Brake.
  • In 1927 they bought their first corking machine, for corking their bottled beers.
  • In 1992 the first Visitor Centre was opened - and in 2006 the Visitor Centre was extended and a museum added.

Best Brewery Tours of Cornwall - St Austell Brewery.  Brewery Tour.     Photo by: Leigh Wolf
Best Brewery Tours of Cornwall - St Austell Brewery. Brewery Tour. Photo by: Leigh Wolf

St Austell Brewery: Where's the Beer?

St Austell Brewery now own over 170 pubs. Most are in Cornwall, but there are a few in Devon and Somerset too. One that's got a high profile is the Cornish Arms in St Merryn on the north coast of Cornwall, as the tenant at that pub is none other than TV celebrity chef Rick Stein.

St Austell Brewery even have a strong presence on the Isles of Scilly, where you'll find their beers at the Atlantic Hotel, the Atlantic Inn and the Bishop and Wolf Inn on the Islands.

St Austell Brewery have a strong reputation for continually upgrading their pubs, keeping them modern, attractive and commercially-viable.

Cornish Rattler

In 2008 St Austell Brewery won the contract to keg and distribute Rattler Cyder and Rattler Pear Cyder for Healeys Cornish Cyder Farm.

St Austell Brewery: The Brewery Tour

The tour lasts an hour and at the end you'll find yourself in Hicks Bar, where you can enjoy a taste of freshly brewed St Austell beers.

There's also a selection of hot and cold food, so time it right and you can have your lunch there. All food is cooked to order, so it's fresh and contains many locally-sourced and locall-produced ingredients.

St Austell Brewery Shop

There's an on-site brewery shop, with a full range of St Austell beers, wines and spirits, as well as a clothing range and a gift shop.This is a great place to pick up gifts for friends/family if you're on holiday - or for beer drinkers for Xmas!

Best Brewery Tours of Cornwall - St Austell Brewery.  St Austell Brewery Building.  Photo by: Tony Atkin
Best Brewery Tours of Cornwall - St Austell Brewery. St Austell Brewery Building. Photo by: Tony Atkin

How To Run a P*** Up in a Brewery

Well, you've heard the saying and now it's possible to do it. You can run your own p*** up in a brewery by booking a private function room. The Hicks Bar and new Museum are ideal for your private parties or functions.

  • Seating for up to 70 people.
  • Standing room for up to 100 people.
  • Fully licensed.
  • On-site parking.
  • Food available.

show route and directions
A markerBrewery Tour -
63 Trevarthian Road, St Austell, Cornwall PL25 4BY
get directions

B markerRailway Station -
St Austell Railway Station, Saint Austell, Cornwall PL25 4, UK
get directions

The St Austell Brewery Visitor Centre was improved and extended in 2006, along with the new Museum being opened. Booking is advisable if you don't want to be disappointed, otherwise just turn up on the hour.

Note: Children under 8 are not permitted on the Brewery Tour due to it being a working environment with lots of moving machinery. The tour also involves areas with steep staircases and limited headroom, so not ideal for people with some disabilities.

There's free car parking on site.

Opening Times: All year, Mon-Sat, 10am-4pm. Open 10am-4pm on Sundays during the summer. If you've got a group and you want to organise a Brewery Tour, these can be organised during the evenings.

Admission Prices: Adult £8, Child (over 8) £5, Students/Seniors £6, CAMRA members £5.50. Book a group event and there's a 10% discount.

Address: 26 Trevarthian Road, St Austell, Cornwall, PL25 4BY
Telephone: 01726 66022


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    • kmes profile image

      Kayla Swanson 2 years ago from Wyoming

      Sounds like a great place to visit. I'll have to visit if I'm ever in the area.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 7 years ago from San Francisco

      What fun! I love brewery tours, and I don't even drink XD - these sound like some great spots!