Banbury area roads ring out once again to the sound of Hook Norton Brewery's Shire horses doing what they do best - delivering beer

The Banbury area roads are ringing out to the sound of Hook Norton Brewery's Shire horses as they begin delivering beer to local pubs again.

By Roseanne Edwards
Monday, 12th April 2021, 11:22 am
Commander and Lucas, the Shire horses, delivering beer to one of Hook Norton Brewery's pubs

The sounds of the heavy footfall of Commander and Lucas pulling the brewery dray is a welcome sign of the coronavirus lockdown easing that begins today (Monday).

The lockdown restrictions have meant it has been almost two years since the two wonderful Shire horses visited the pubs in the area, delivering Hook Norton Brewery’s award winning ales (and to get their pint of beer!) but now they are back and ready to go under the new whip of professional coachman Nicholas Carter and groom Sarah Nash.

As one of only three breweries in the UK still using the Shire horse for deliveries, Hook Norton Brewery is proud to be able to get the boys back to work.

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The Hook Norton Brewery dray with its Shire horses, Commander and Lucas, and groom Sarah Nash

Managing Director James Clarke said: “We have a long tradition of working Shire horses here at the brewery, which we feel is really important. Our horses are a firm favourite in the village and we believe wholeheartedly that they have a true place in our team, delivering locally and representing us at external events.

"We have a new team here and we are pleased that the boys are fit and ready to go back to work after the easing of the lockdown restrictions.”

The Hook Norton Shire Horses can be seen out on their duties every week in Hook Norton and daily in the brewery stables.

The brewery is also pleased to announce it is opening a small museum space within the stable block, dedicated to the history of working Shire horses and their history at the brewery.

Commander and Lucas make horse-drawn deliveries to Hook Norton Brewery's pubs in the village

This can be seen on each of the Brewery tours bookable through the Visitor Centre, starting again today (Monday, April 12).

The horses can be booked to appear at events. To contact the team email [email protected]

* The Shire horse is one of three native British breeds of heavy working horse - Shire, Clydesdale and Suffolk Punch - and has, since the second world war, declined in numbers so dramatically that they are now reputedly rarer than the Giant Panda.

There are five breweries currently using the Shire Horse - Hook Norton Brewery, Oxfordshire, Wadworth’s in Devizes, Samuel Smith’s Brewery in Tadcaster, Robinsons Brewery in Stockport and Thwaite Brewery in Blackburn. (Thwaites and Robinsons do not deliver).

To book a tour of the brewery call 01608 730384 or go to