Stuart Bateman – Managing Director, fourth generation

I joined my family at Batemans Brewery in 1987, working alongside my sister Jaclyn and my mum and dad, Pat and George, to help keep our family legacy alive.

I studied business at St Pauls in Cheltenham and completed a three-year Brewing and Business Foundation course at Mansfield Brewery. With this solid grounding and plenty of work experience at the Brewery under my belt, I felt well-prepared to take up the position of Assistant Managing Director.

When I joined the business, despite having secured the Brewery’s independence, we had quite a bit of debt to cover after substantial borrowings from the Midland Bank.

Whilst my sister Jaclyn set about whipping up wholesaler interest, I focused on recouping money by selling some of the pubs and reorganising the business’s free-trade and tenanted trade divisions. Our free-trade business, essentially selling our beer to independent pub owners, was a significant part of our strategy for growth, partly because we didn’t need to invest lots of money into it, which we didn’t have! Our free-trade arm was so successful that Carlsberg Tetley bought it from us for the same amount we’d had to borrow from the bank to retain our independence. Thankfully, we returned to the free trade six years later and increased that part of the business by 30% – and it’s not for sale!


People were getting a taste for Batemans beer at pubs and homes all over the UK (and beyond), and we were continually stoking that interest with new beers and fresh ideas.

With a rebranded and revitalised bottled beer range, I presented Batemans beer to supermarket buyers around the country and, over three years, gained national listings and top awards, resulting in an eight-fold increase in supermarket volume. At the same time, I put together a small team to develop our sales within national wholesalers, resulting in a six-fold increase in national sales volume.

In 2002, I took over as Managing Director, ably supported by Jaclyn. During that year, I designed the Visitors Centre and training facility based in our beloved old windmill. We wanted to give people a real insight into our brewing heritage – not only through the beers but also through the lives of the fantastic Batemans characters behind them.

Our Visitors Centre was officially declared open by the 617 Dambuster Squadron.


In 2007, we reimagined our tenanted pub division, discarding outdated rent systems and introducing a pioneering free-trade pricing model with a code of practice, a first for any UK brewer, revolutionising the industry norm.

Traditionally, publicans faced punitive measures for success, facing escalating rents and much higher beer costs compared to independent pub-owners. This strained relationship between tenants and breweries fostered disputes, which we aimed to change.

Our efforts earned us back-to-back prestigious Publican Awards, marking a proud moment for the brewery team.

Simultaneously, we focused on Batemans’ growth as a leading wholesaler across Lincolnshire, Anglia, and the East Midlands, witnessing remarkable volume increases and elevated customer service levels.

While acknowledging the trend of regional focus among breweries, we embraced it, seeing increased beer sales in our home county of Lincolnshire and expanded footprints in the East Midlands, Yorkshire, and Norfolk.

With my wife Rachael’s unwavering support, our children – Harri, Edward, and Eliza – express interest in joining the family business, ensuring the legacy of brewing exceptional beer and managing outstanding pubs independently for the next generation.


In early 2020, amid hopeful projections for record profits, the unforeseen Coronavirus pandemic brought everything to a standstill. Lockdowns shuttered businesses, including our pubs. Swiftly, we formulated a three-phase plan – Survival, Revival, and Development – to navigate the crisis.

Staff gathered in the brewery car park, and I talked them through our planning for the period of the pandemic; however long that will be, most staff would have to return home and isolate for safety, whilst our focus turned to adaptability. The emphasis was on ‘pulling together’. Beer stocks were repurposed for conversion to NHS sanitising gel, and innovative offerings like ‘Pub in a Box’ and online shop enhancements were launched.

The brewery persevered with a skeletal staff of seven, and the company will forever be in debt to their unwavering dedication. Pubs faced closures, necessitating efforts to support them through stock credits, cancellation of rents and governmental aids like grants and reduced rates.

Upon reopening, challenges persisted. Restarting production took time, as the yeast had been dormant for three months. We needed to start again with a fresh yeast culture and build it up to do commercial brew volumes, which took several weeks. For the first few weeks, we brewed a beer called ‘Revival,’ which was very popular and gave us a chance to flavour-match it to XB. This process took about four brews. Trade bounced back to nearly 90% of previous levels, buoyed by coastal tourism.

Yet, looming uncertainties – local lockdowns and a second wave – prompted ongoing survival strategies. Despite some layoffs and the mothballing of the Visitors Centre, brewery morale remained high with a unified resolve of ‘pulling together.’