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New Master Brewer - Simon Theakston

This month we were delighted to welcome our new Master Brewer, Simon Theakston DL, who was elected at the Court meeting which took place on Thursday 11 July.

Simon graduated from brewery yard operative to drayman in the mid-70s, before a pupillage year at Guinness in Park Royal and three years at the Financial Times qualified him for a full-time return to the family brewery in Masham as Marketing Manager in 1981.  He has stayed within the industry ever since, moving from time to time first to Matthew Brown plc and then to Scottish & Newcastle plc (S&N), following corporate takeovers.  He worked mostly in marketing and sales roles before ending up as Marketing Director of S&N subsidiary, John Smiths Ltd in 1997.  In 2003, he, with his brothers, took back control of their old family company of T&R Theakston Ltd from S&N, in what is believed to be the first buy back of small family brewer from a larger one in living memory.  T&R Theakston was established by his great-great grandfather in 1827.  Simon was appointed Executive Director of the brewery in 2003 where he remains.  He is also Chairman of Pub is the Hub, the not for profit business that supports rural communities through provision of vital services via the local pub.

Away from the brewing industry, Simon was a Trustee of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and Chairman from 2006 to 2016.  He was a Borough Councillor in Harrogate from 2002 to 2017.  He was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of North Yorkshire in 2012.  Simon has been married to Candy for 39 years and they live near Boroughbridge in North Yorkshire. They have two grown up children, William and Nel and one newly arrived grandchild!  Simon actively participates in field sports and he and Candy share an interest in gardening, visiting pubs and National Trust properties.

Simon succeeds Stephen Spencer-Jones of Heineken UK whom he thanked, saying: “On behalf of us all may I congratulate you on the way you have undertaken the role of Master.  Thank you for the representative role you have played within the wider Livery of the City of London this year, and thank you for the calm and astute way you have led the Company through what is a milestone era for us, with our impending new development soon to begin.”

Also elected at the Court meeting were the Wardens for 2019-20: Richard Fuller of Fuller, Smith and Turner as Upper Warden, Jonathan Neame DL of Shepherd Neame as Middle Warden, and James Staughton DL of St Austell Brewing Company as Renter Warden.  The Master was also pleased to announce to the Livery that Katherine Smart of Diageo GB has accepted the offer of the Court to become Renter Warden in 2020 – a historic moment as, in four year’s time Katherine will become the first female Master of the Company in its 600 year history.

Photograph: The Master, Simon Theakston (right), with the Wardens (from left): James Staughton, Jonathan Neame and Richard Fuller.