Beer History

National Brewing Library

The National Brewing Library at Oxford Brookes University comprises over 6,500 items, including over 5,000 volumes relating to brewing, distilling, beer, whisky and other alcoholic beverages, and dependent trades, and 200 beer and brewing journals (28 current). The collection, mainly English language, aims to be the primary and most comprehensive source of information in the UK on the scientific, technological, historical and social aspects of the above. Approximately a quarter of the items are unique to the collection and do not appear in the catalogues of the British library or any other major collections. Most of the major historic brewing texts are included in the collection such as Combrune and Richardson’s 18th Century “London and Country Brewer”, through to late Victorian classic brewing texts such as Alfred Barnard’s “noted Breweries of England and Ireland” and the “Distilleries of the United Kingdom”. Key journals that include many period advertisements and illustrations include the “Country Brewers’ Gazette” (1877-1904) and the “Brewers’ Journal” (1865- 1967).

Core Areas:

  • Historical English Language books
  • Raw materials – barley, other cereals, malt, hops, sugar, water
  • Yeast
  • Fermentation
  • Microbiology
  • Technology, engineering
  • Production, product quality
  • Sensory/ flavour analysis
  • Customs and Excise
  • Company histories
  • Licensed trade, histories of public houses, guides and inn signs
  • Social customs related to drink/ drinking

Further information

The National Brewing Library, held in the multi-award winning John Henry Brookes Building (JHBB), is open to researchers or scholars, members of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and students at Oxford Brookes University. The library is a reference library and items are not available to borrow.

For more information on the National Brewing Library including the catalogue, contacts and access details please see here.

More information on The Institute of Brewing and Distilling can be found here.

Further Reading