Tributes to Uley Brewery legend who introduced Uley Bitter, Old Spot

Chas Wright, who has died aged 74, led Uley Brewery for over three decades, was instrumental in the company’s growth and success, and brought a spotlight to the village.

Friends and family have described him as a “larger than life character” with “witty banter” who had always dreamed of opening his own brewery.

He first opened Uley Brewery in 1985 where he designed his own stainless-steel vessels and introduced award winning beers such as Uley Bitter, Pigs Ear and the Old Spot.

Chas’s daughter Rosa said her father was a “true pioneer” in the real beer world.

“He originally moved to Bristol when it was a real beer desert, so brought casks of Theakstons bitter down to sell initially at the Berkeley Arms in Purton,” she said.

“He had always dreamed of owning his own brewery and saw the potential of the disused Prices Brewery in Uley.

Gazette Series:

“It was one of the first small breweries to open in 1985.

“He was a true pioneer in the real beer world.”

Chas was born in Lincoln on September 7, 1948 and spent his early years in Chepstow, before moving to Kidderminster.

He studied at Alton Castle and Belmont Abbey in Hereford. 

He eventually moved to Bristol and married his wife Mary in 1976.

He saw the potential and reopened the disused old brewery grade II listed building in Uley, which had previously been part of the Price Brewery, which had closed at the end of the nineteenth century.

Gazette Series: Chas Wright with his grandson PatrickChas Wright with his grandson Patrick (Image: The Wright family)

Uley Brewery’s first pint was poured on March 1, 1985 in the Red Lion, Arlingham, which still serves Uley beer today.

Ellie Sainty, owner of the Old Spot Inn, Dursley had known Chas for over 30 years and said she and her team would miss his “witty banter”.

“We are with heavy hearts at the sudden passing of our friend, Chas Wright,” she said.

“Chas was a great friend and champion to the Old Spot, donating our first beer engines and supplying the most excellent Uley beer.

“We have loved his bar room stories, his witty banter, his music and his extensive knowledge of brewing and pubs. We will miss this “big” character.”

Gazette Series: Chas Wright (middle) and staff in Uley Brewery in 2010 - photo from a previous Gazette storyChas Wright (middle) and staff in Uley Brewery in 2010 – photo from a previous Gazette story (Image: Newsquest)

Chas eventually retired at the end of 2018 on his 70th birthday and handed over the reins to managing director Martin Brooks.

Chas leaves behind his wife Mary, son David, daughter Rosa and grandchildren Patrick and Florence.

A spokesperson for Uley Brewery said: “It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Chas Wright who passed away peacefully in the early hours of Tuesday, January 31.

“Chas founded Uley Brewery in 1985 to brew genuine Cotswold beer.

“Chas was a larger-than-life character, and we will miss him dearly. But as he would say, ‘Keep taking the medicine!’”

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