See also the Linden Tree.
In October 1978 Bob Readdie and Denis Prenter, owners of the Norfolk House Hotel, began brewing their own beer on the premises under the name of the Hawthorne Brewery. The small brewery was housed in a small room at the back of the hotel. Donnington Brewery supplied the yeast to get the brewery started. The L-shaped bar had musty smelling settees where you could sit and drink the home-brewed beers in a distinctive atmosphere, surrounded by strange memorabilia which included car wheel hubs and old oil cans. The beers on offer were Hawthorne Special Bitter with an original gravity of 1042 and Extra at 1038. In January 1979 the brewery was producing 60 gallons a week and were often running out of beer. In 1983 the Hawthorne Brewery moved to larger premises in an industrial estate (Unit J, Alfred Street Industrial Estate) but there were problems and brewing ceased in the same year.
The Tippler: (No. 7 – July 1978) – ‘Home Brew’ Comes to Gloucester: Landlord Bob Readdie of the Norfolk House Hotel, Gloucester, with his partner Denis Prenter, chemist David Brown and accountant Roger Jones have been planning for some time to brew beer at the hotel. They have converted a storeroom for the purpose, obtaining brewing equipment from various – including scrap yards! The original plan was to sell the beer through ten or twelve outlets in addition to the Norfolk House itself. Gloucester city planners, however, say that the hotel is in a residential area, so the beer my only be sold on the premises. Undaunted, Bob is going ahead with plans to brew beer using only locally grown natural ingredients. The brew will have an original gravity of 1038 and will be really bitter, similar, Bob says, to Theakston’s Bitter but a bit darker in colour to suit the Southern preference. It will be named after Bob’s great-great-grandfather, Richard Hawthorne, who also was a brewer. The beer will be served from genuine oak casks (with a name like Hawthorne, wooden casks had to be used really – Ed). The casks, though, are not locally grown – the genuine article not being available in this country. Bob is having to import them from America. For those seeking a new-drinking experience, the beer will be available, only in the Norfolk House, of course, from about the third week in August.
The Tippler: (No. 9 – September 1978) – A hold up in the granting of a brewing licence has meant that the introduction of Hawthorne Bitter, the new home brew from the Norfolk House Hotel, Gloucester, has been delayed. The beer will now be available towards the end of October.
In 1980 the City of Gloucester brass band was facing difficulty because of lack of funds. Bob Readdie of the Norfolk House gave them the use of the hotel to rehearse twice a week, and in the following 15 months or so the renamed Hawthorne Brewery band went from strength to strength achieving five firsts and two seconds in local brass band competitions in 1981.
The Norfolk House Hotel is now trading as the Linden Tree.