Crown Wharf Story Part 1: The Beginning

As we are getting underway with Crown Wharf then I thought it would be of interest to add a little substance to what we are trying to achieve at Crown Wharf and how we have got here.  So I have written a sequence of posts which I hope some of you will find of interest.

By way of introduction, my name is Steve Nuttall, I am the managing director of Joule’s, not that we are a very hierarchical kind of company, I like to think we are a pretty modern team orientated kind of business with good values.  Do feel free to email me if you have any questions, my email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  I also try to keep an eye on any questions on the page, Pip and Vicky run all marketing things so are often quicker than I am.

Crown Wharf, is much more than just a pub, what matters most to us, and still, too many people in Stone, is the return of Joule's to the town that it is synonymous with. 

So first things first, the brand.  

I first came across the Joule's trademarks when I was a young marketing manager working for Bass Brewers around 1990.  Some of these trademarks are bonkers, like the one here 'ale scrumpers' a registered trademark from 1883, we don't use it anymore, but we still keep it live on the register out of nostalgia.

In the early '90s, I had the marketing brief for what was known as the 'ale tail' an array of quite big local brands, most are now memories, Brew XI, Albright, Toby, Hancocks, Bass Blue, Bass Light, M&B Mild, Highgate.  This was about 15 years after Bass had closed the Stone brewery, and the Joule's brand was owned and registered but not used.  Bass had around 50 or so dormant brands like Joule's, and these were also in my remit.  Of these Joule's stood apart, it was clearly the most prestigious, it had inbuilt charisma, local following, and of course one of the most distinctive and memorable trademarks, the 6th oldest beer mark in the world, the famous Red Cross mark.  I also had Bass in my portfolio, it struck me how similar their stories were.  Both brands are named after their founders, and both marks are cleaned up versions of their signatures, both have simple trademark devices, and both started their brewery's at more or less the same time in Staffordshire.  William Bass in 1777, Francis Joule in 1779.  Both companies flourished and built vast pub estates, both exported to the US market, Joules first, then Bass.  More on that later.


Our local sales team wanted to brew Joule's in the 1990s, which is when I came across it for the first time.  Bass dabbled, but it was never a serious project, and the relaunch faded quickly lacking any real heart.  In 1995 I left Bass having been given an opportunity to take their Highgate Brewery, in Walsall, independent, with a few backers behind us we managed to find the funds.  Highgate was later sold to Aston Manor Brewery in 2000, we had struggled with it and it needed more volume which Aston Manor could offer. 

I then turned my attention back to Joule's, still dormant.  Joule’s had always been in the back of my mind, it had always irritated me that such an astonishing brand was left, literally, on the shelf.  I made a call to an old friend of mine, still in the marketing department and asked if Bass Brewers would sell us the trademark, which they did, 18 years later.  I will save that story to explain why we are building a replica of Burton on Trent's most famous pub in the yard of Crown Wharf…