History of Connoisseur Ales

Mark brewing

Our brewer Mark was apprentice to Stan Shaw of Wapping Brewery way back in 2006 after many years of home brewing. We brewed out of Wapping Brewery in 2007-08 under the name ‘The Connoisseur Brewer’ and our beers were a regular feature in Liverpool at that time.

A few years on and we secured premises in Warrington suitable for housing a brewery and purchased the equipment of former Fenland Brewery of Ely. It wasn’t to be though at that time and a long and fruitless battle with planning, English Heritage and our landlords began. They weren’t as passionate about real ale as us which resulted in us seeking new premises closer to home.

Fast-forwarding now to 2014 and our focus has switched solely to the brewery, we secured a fantastic town centre location in our home town of St Helens and within six months our brewery launched with a fantastic local pub-crawl with our different beers found in each pub. Now our beers can be enjoyed across the region and beyond.

Meet the Team

Mark, Kev and Gillian

We are Mark, Gillian and Kevin Yates. We are a family team of multi-award winning former licensees, gaining notoriety in Liverpool's 'Pub of Excellence' The Baltic Fleet and Cheshire's former ‘Pub of the Year' & 'Cider Pub of the Year', The Albion in Warrington. After many years of experience and numerous Good Beer Guide entries, we left it behind (for now) to focus on crafting the beers of the Connoisseur range.


  • Sep 2016
  • Our second birthday – 2 years of great beer were celebrated with a superb open day.
  • May 2016
  • We launch our first Charity beer 'Smile' raising money for a local good cause. Smile
  • Feb 2016
  • Research trip to Central America sourcing wild yeast strains from the Guatemalan and Mexican rainforests.
  • Feb 2016
  • We are voted ‘Merseyside’s Best New Brewery’ and make the local press again.
  • Jan 2016
  • Our open days are ranked St Helens’ number 1 nightlife attraction on Tripadvisor.
  • Dec 2015
  • We’re invited to attend many local Artisanal and Christmas markets with great feedback.
  • Nov 2015
  • One of our beers is listed alongside the then ‘Champion Beer of Britain’ as a must-try beer by The Liverpool Echo.
  • Nov 2015
  • We release bottle gift packs begin to offer bottles by mail order.
  • Sept 2015
  • The launch of our mobile bar is a success at local Dogs Trust fundraising event.
  • July 2015
  • A weekly bottle night is added to our opening times.
  • Mar 2015
  • Made the local paper brewing a Special beer for Saints RLFC’s World Club match.
  • Jan 2015
  • The first bottles of our beers are launched.
  • Nov 2015
  • A distribution deal is put in place to increase our beer’s availability.
  • Sep 2014
  • Connoisseur Ales is officially launched with a pub crawl and an open day – beers begin appearing in local pubs almost immediately. Monthly open days are announced.
  • Mar 2014
  • New premises are secured a planning application is submitted and a gruelling 6-month installation begins.
  • Dec 2013
  • We step back from the pub game to focus all our efforts on launching Connoisseur Ales.
  • 2012
  • We begin cuckoo brewing again as The Connoisseur Brewer in local breweries including 4T’s and Mayflower bringing our beers back for the first time in 4 years.
  • 2012
  • We acquire Fenland Brewery’s 5-barrel brewing kit.
  • 2012
  • Under our leadership The Albion wins Cheshire Cider Pub of the Year award.
  • 2010
  • Under our leadership The Albion wins Cheshire Pub of the Year award.
  • 2008
  • We take over The Albion in Warrington, a Carling and Karaoke drug den, in the hopes of turning it around.
  • 2008
  • Under our leadership The Baltic Fleet wins Liverpool Pub of Excellence award.
  • 2008
  • The first ‘Connoisseur Brewer’ beers appear in local pubs and beer festivals.
  • 2007
  • We take the helm of The Baltic Fleet, Liverpool.
  • 2005
  • Mark begins apprenticeship under Stan Shaw at Wapping Brewery, Liverpool
  • 1997
  • Fenland brewery wins ‘Best Wheat Beer in Britain’ award for Sparkling Wit, a beer we brew to the original recipe to this day

Connoisseur Ales Brewery & Tasting Rooms
(Rear of) Wolverhampton House
121-125 Church Street, St Helens
WA10 1AJ

Order Online: 07921 83 88 31

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Connoisseur Ales is the trading name of Humberside Properties UK Ltd, a registered company of England and Wales, Company No: 08404934,
Registered offices: Wolverhampton House, 121-125 Church Street, St Helens, WA10 1AJ