Midway through 1858 our founder, Timothy Taylor, acquired the tenancy of a mid-18th-century barn and stable in Cook Lane. A thoroughfare which straddled Low Street, and converted the building into a brewery.
Two partners, James Shackleton and John Naylor, joined him in the new undertaking. What instigated the gentlemen’s interest in the new venture, apart from financial advantage, is not known. Perhaps the deciding factor for them for entering the beer industry was that as Keighley grew rapidly there was an expanding market for beer and malt.
Timothy’s first task was to produce beers of a quality and flavour that would be acceptable to the Keighley public. These then had to be reproduced consistently. The arrival of the railway meant far speedier travel between the towns in the Aire Valley. It allowed the products of great internationally known brewers of Burton, London and Dublin to reach all parts of Britain. Also, beer from Tadcaster, not so far away, could reasonably make its way to the area.
This, surely, meant that smaller breweries must have been under pressure to compete and their products had to be of high standard.
For a short time Robert Aked produced a local newspaper entitled The Illustrated Monthly Journal & Keighley Advertiser. The December 1858 issue announced the opening of Timothy Taylor’s Cook Lane New Brewery, Keighley, for the purpose of brewing Mild Ales, Bitter Ales and Porter. Timothy also stated that “he was now ready to receive orders”.
Slightly less than a year later Timothy was able to purchase his first public houses in November 1859: a beerhouse (the Volunteer’s Arms) and the New Inn at Bocking.
Unfortunately there are no records regarding the brewing equipment first installed at Cook Lane. When the then “Old Brewery” came up for sale in 1865 it was stated that the premises had plant of modern construction and were served with an abundant supply of good water.