Closing Time


You can’t remember the last Tetley’s you had. Probably it was a can of Smooth chosen as a least-worst option at a party. You’d like to say that the first pint of bitter you ever supped was made by Taylors, but it was probably a Tetley. Tetley was the default beer. And it was good stuff. Your dad drank it when he wasn’t drinking Taylors. So did your uncles. Your granddad drank it. His dad drank it. His dad probably sold it. You saw the monocled huntsman winking at you from the outfield hoardings at Headingly and Scarborough as you watched Martyn Moxon and Ashley Metcalfe and ‘Sir’ Geoff Boycott. He was above the door when you first went into pubs. On the tray of pints and crisps. On the truncheons at the bar. You smiled when you went to art school and read a book about iconic brands; “Wherever there are Yorkshiremen” it said, “You will find Tetleys”.

Tetley faded. It wasn’t what it was. Everyone said so and you agreed. But you enjoyed the odd pint. On the rare times you saw it, Tetley Mild made a good session closer. And you liked to see the Tetley sign with that marketing-contrived apostrophe-S glowing over Leeds as you changed trains on a visit. It meant you were home. Tetley was as Yorkshire as Ilkley Moor. It was always there. And now its gone.

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About teninchwheels

Designer, photographer and Vespa-fixated pub bore. Born in Yorkshire, living in that London these past 20 years. Get in touch at teninchwheels@gmail.com, especially if you'd like to send me some free beer.
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3 Responses to Closing Time

  1. Affer says:

    I moved to live in Burnsall in 1974, when the Red Lion was still a rather grubby little pub serving locals at whatever time the owners felt appropriate. My first order there (being a Suvverner) was for a gin-and-tonic……which I hastily amended to a pint of bitter when the barlady stood stock still, and all the drinkers (eg the late Fred Manby) stared at me. It was then that I discovered the joy of well-kept Tetley’s. I drank many a pint of it in subsequent years….until suddenly I didn’t like it any more, and discovered Timothy Taylor’s.

    I hope it dies and rest in peace – and is not resurrected as an old brand applied to new tat.

    • They’re going to brew it at Banks’s in Wolverhampton, so it’ll still be around – and Smoothflow will still be synthesised by robots in Tadcaster. I’ll never knowingly touch a Carlsberg product again though.

      • Beeron says:

        Surely robots couldn’t make anything as bad as Smoothflow?… it would have to be brewed in cauldrons by evil mutant witches who had crawled out of a chemical swamp

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