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02.02.2017 | Family & Tradition

Fentimans - A family story


There is an untold fable of a family botanical brewery

It has a varied and tumultuous back story

It is steeped in tradition and is known to be fearless

Quality is at its core of which there is no acquiesce


Long before the craft beer invasion from America or the gin renaissance currently sweeping across the UK, there was Eldon Robson and his grand vision to resurrect Fentimans botanically brewed drinks, his great grandfathers original craft methods and continue his family’s brewing heritage.

The story begins back in 1905 with Thomas Fentiman who lived in the Northern England town of Cleckheaton. Thomas was the pioneer who, with an old recipe, started brewing botanically brewed ginger beer. It was later marketed with his Crufts winning dog Fearless appearing on handmade “Greyhen” stone jars called Greyhens while riding his carthorse over the horizon to his eager and thirsty customers. Fentiman’s ginger beer quickly became very popular and the family business grew.

Over 100 years later there is now Eldon Robson, Thomas Fentimans great grandson who now holds the reigns of Fentimans botanically brewed beverages today. Eldon holds the reigns of his family owned business today in a similar fashion to how, back in the day, Thomas Fentiman would’ve held the reigns of his delivery carthorse, with great control & consideration for others, a wee trough of planning but also displaying a galloping show of flash when needed.

The Summer of 1987 heralded a crossroads in Eldon’s life deciding what in the world to do next and at this point he felt a calling, it began as whisper but grew louder and louder, it was his family’s traditional botanical brewing past. After research and digging out the original family recipe on an old piece of parchment, he was inspired by stories of old so coupled with bags and bags of enthusiasm he went about discovering long and forgotten brewing methods and obscure botanicals to create his grandfather’s original botanically brewed taste.

Helping him along the way was the renowned and worldly, polymath, Doctor Philip Ashurst- whom, would give any children’s story potion-maker a run for their magical concoctions. So, in 1988, Eldon, along with his Uncle Joe met Philip to fine tune his great grandfather’s recipes where Uncle Joe famously bellowed…

“pass me a bucket and I’ll show you how to make it!”

Still today, Eldon makes our beverages with the time-honoured method of botanical brewing, using the finest natural ingredients even though at the time, Eldon realised what he was doing was completely unfashionable.

Fast forward 25 years, Eldon’s conviction back then to making drinks in which his family had traditionally made them, means he has made sure that they would once again, have their day in the sun.

Today Fentimans, looking back in the last quarter of a century and the mountain Eldon has personally climbed, he is immensely proud that Fentimans are now back in vogue with the public falling back in love with his family’s drinks.

So, our first little blog entry is a little ode to the present ‘Fearless’ Fentiman leader Eldon, for his relentless passion and indomitable spirit, this blog is now alive and we aim to enlighten you with many a story while also hoping to entertain and bring you a chuckle or two.

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