Castle Rock Through Time

The Castle Rock Timeline

In 1977, a flare-wearing entrepreneur opened The Old King’s Arms in Newark. The idea was a simple one: create a friendly, welcoming pub and serve high quality beer. This humble dream turned out to be quite the success story. The Castle Rock family grew and grew, and in 1997 we started brewing our own beer.

Today, we continue to be a proud independent brewery and pub company in the heart of Nottingham. Our mission will always be to brew great beer, run great pubs, and make connections with our customers that last a lifetime.


Chris Holmes opened The Old Kings Arms in Newark. A former Chairman of CAMRA, Chris’ in-depth knowledge of quality cask beer fuelled his passion to create somewhere special where he himself would like to drink. Castle Rock (formerly ‘Tynemill’) grew as Chris acquired more pubs, including the Swan in the Rushes in Loughborough and the Lincolnshire Poacher in Nottingham.


There were 12 pubs in the Castle Rock family by the time we began brewing our own beers in ’97. The brewery was established as a partnership with Bramcote Brewery and opened next door to the Vat and Fiddle in Nottingham, which later became our brewery tap.


Our friendship with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust was formed when we launched the Wildlife Series of beers to highlight threatened species. Sir David Attenborough himself visited us and poured himself a pint in support of the partnership.


Brewer Adrian Redgrove joined the brewery and many of the classic Castle Rock beers known today were refined. Ade’s meticulousness and focus on consistency quickly helped the brewery gain momentum. Word spread and production extended from 30 barrels a week to over 100.


In 2010, Castle Rock’s flagship beer Harvest Pale was crowned Champion Beer of Britain. Demand soared and, with the second brewery bursting at the seams, we increased capacity to 360 barrels a week.


Castle Rock gained Green Accreditation with the IIE for our work to reduce our ecological footprint. Our accreditation gave us even more opportunities to further explore green initiatives and partnerships.


Castle Rock launched a new range of beers designed to push the boundaries of brewing. Through trial and error, experimentation and creativity, the 2.0 beers disregarded many of the rules Castle Rock was used to following. One of these beers, now known as Session, became one of the brewery’s biggest sellers.

2018 & 2019

Castle Rock was awarded Visit Nottingham’s Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable STARS Award for two consecutive years. In 2019, Castle Rock cut its Co2 emissions by 29% in Scope 1, 2 and 3.


Castle Rock embarked upon the Pilot Project, acquiring a small pilot kit which allows the brewing team to explore and experiment with new techniques and approaches, as well as produce beers on a smaller scale.


Castle Rock survived Covid thanks to the ongoing support of our amazing customers and the dedication of our people. We began building back our business with a fresh eyes and fire in our bellies. The brew kit rumbled into action, and we brewed some of our best beers ever.