HISTORIC Keighley brewery Timothy Taylor – like others in the industry – was badly hit by the impact of the Covid-19 crisis.

Lockdown and the closure of pubs to stem the spread of coronavirus meant that almost literally overnight, the world-famous firm’s revenue collapsed.

From riding high at the start of the year, with the multi-award-winning Landlord ale enjoying unprecedented popularity and other tipples seeing a resurgence, the brewery was suddenly staring disaster in the face.

But chief executive Tim Dewey voiced his determination that the family company, a central part of the town for over 160 years, would not be consigned to history books.

With the hospitality trade now open for business once again, the brewery can look to the future with optimism.

And perhaps the innovation and grit demonstrated by the firm’s founder – and subsequent generations – will help inspire.

Taylor’s is one of the oldest family-owned breweries in the UK.

Bingley-born Timothy Taylor opened a brewery at Cook Lane, in the centre of Keighley, in 1858, in partnership with James Shackleton and John Naylor.

A year later they bought their first pub, the Volunteers Arms.

In 1863, Mr Taylor bought out his partners and brewing began at the present Knowle Spring site.

He built the new brewery with financial assistance from his father-in-law, Robert Aked.

“The principle of not accepting second best was laid down – and that remains with us to the present day,” said a spokesman.

A deep well was sunk in 1894 – water from the aquifer is still used today – and the brewery was extended with a new brewhouse, cellars and finally in 1911 a new fermentation building to help meet growing demand.

Death duties following the passing of family members Percy and Philip Taylor threatened the future of the brewery in 1953, but financial support came from Sir John Horsfall.

Over the years the brewery has won countless awards for its ales.

Its ‘flagship’ Landlord – introduced in 1952 – has won more awards than any other beer, scooping both the Campaign for Real Ale’s Champion Beer of Britain title and the Brewing Industry Challenge Cup four times.

In 2014, the company completed a £12 million investment programme – the biggest in its history.

The venture included the installation of a new boiler, the provision of new offices and a transport depot, extensions and six new fermenting vessels – which enabled the company to produce an extra 15,000 barrels of beer a year.