For the benefit of our nationwide readers, we thought we'd just share you a little of the history behind our own Brew2bottle beer kits. Many of the towns in Mid-Cheshire have heritage rooted in the local salt industry and we like to reflect that history in our own products.
Cheshire is sited on top of a vast deposit of salt, laid down in the Triassic age over 230 million years ago. Northwich supplies much of the UK's salt, which is mainly used in the chemical industry whilst over 50% of the white salt for the UK food industry is produced in Middlewich. Britain’s oldest working mine at Winsford was opened in 1844 and most of Britain's roads are treated with rocksalt from here. Places at which the salt was mined, often have names ending in ‘wich’, such as Northwich, Middlewich and Nantwich.
In the Roman town of Condate, now known as Northwich, salt was extracted from springs of natural brine by boiling in lead salt pans and this process carried on a small way right up until the 17th Century. It was in 1670 that employees of the Smith-Barry family from Marbury Hall discovered the underground salt beds whilst searching for coal and thereby created the modern salt industry.
In the early days, simple pits were dug to extract the rock which was dissolved in water to make brine and separate out the salt by boiling. When it later became uneconomic to mine salt physically, the technique of pumping water through the bedrock to dissolve the salt and evaporating the water off at the surface (known as brine pumping) was used. Unfortunately, this created underground voids which led to land subsidence. This accounts for the many old timber-framed houses in mid Cheshire, which were better able to withstand the movement of the ground and could be jacked up to level the building, or even moved to stable ground.
So raise a glass of Brew2bottle Salt Workers Stout, and salute the efforts of the the miners and brine-pumpers who put condiments on your table, and keep your roads ice-free in winter!