Swan Hotel

Southwold, United Kingdom | C.1345

Photo Credit: Amber Adey

From massive fires to famished crocodiles, the Swan Hotel has remained a Southwold staple and continues to follow a centuries old tradition. Ale has been brewed in a medieval building just behind the inn for over 650 years, and it is only proper to take a swig for yourself upon visiting.

The earliest records of brewing at the Swan date back to 1345 when a woman named Johanna de Corby began selling ale behind the building. As an enterprising young gal she figured out a system for slinging booze to her loyal customer base for over 20 years – despite this being illegal. Incidentally, she also became a frequenter of the manorial court.

Life in Southwold continued swimmingly for the next three hundred years (well, if you don’t count the Black Plague and the fall of the Roman Empire, but we digress…). By the mid-1600s, Southwold was booming and the booze was flowing once again — until disaster struck. In April of 1659, a massive fire ripped through the town, destroying a number of homes, workshops, and businesses – including the Swan. Within a year, the beloved inn was rebuilt.

Resurrected, the Swan continued to thrive and in 1872, brothers George and Ernest Adnams purchased both the Hotel and the brewery located behind it, establishing Admans Brewery. The two successfully ran the company together until George went on a trip to South Africa where he  was reportedly eaten by a crocodile. Yikes.

Commandeering the company solo, Ernest set forth into the new century. He was certainly successful (and adept at avoiding crocodiles), as the Brewery has been passed down through the generations and continues to run to this day. As recently as 2017, the Swan underwent an extensive renovation and re-opened, clearly ready to take on the next 650 years and whatever mischief and hungry animals come its way.

Written By: Kelly Murray

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