The Thwaites Shires on a delivery run in Blackburn.

May 20, 2008

A British brewery has decided to go back to using horses for deliveries within a few kilometres of its brewery.

The giant shire horses used for promotional work for the Daniel Thwaites brewery are back in harness in Blackburn and delivering ale to local pubs.

"We are always looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint," said the brewery's transport operations manager Emma Green.

"It is great to see the Shires out again on the roads around town."

Horses have not been used in the delivery of beer by the brewery for five years.

The Thwaites horses have spent the last few years winning awards on the show circuit and doing promotional work.

Their public appearances will continue, but the company hope the shires will also be able to do their day jobs in between.

"We are aiming to get them out delivering within a mile or two's radius of the stables when we can fit it in to their busy schedule," says Emma.

"Deliveries by horse-drawn dray finished about five years ago when we moved distribution off-site."

Charles Beardmore, centre, and fellow groomsmen Richard Green and Jonathan Jones and the four triumphant Shire Horses.
Thwaites ended horse deliveries in the 1920s when the company switched to motor transport. They were reintroduced in 1960 and will celebrate their 50th anniversary in two years.

The brewery has even more reasons to be proud of its horses. They swept the board at the recent National Shire Horse Spring Show, taking four titles and six trophies.

"They looked the best I have ever seen them," said proud head horsekeeper Charles Beardmore, after Classic, Royal, Bomber and Daniel proved worthy champions in front of thousands of spectators at the East of England Showground in Peterborough.

"They were absolutely tip-top. We returned tired but ecstatic."

The Thwaites horses won first prizes in the horse class, the best brewery turnout, the best four-horse team class and the overall championship turnout.

It is the fifth time in seven years the brewery has won a top award at the prestigious event.