One of several activities that this fascinating group of people have experienced today is the Theakston's Brewery Tour, in the lovely town of Masham in the Yorkshire Dales.
The tour started with a privileged and personal account of the Theakston history from Simon Theakston, the great great grandson of the founder of the brewery, set up here in 1827. A proud but chequered history followed, culminating in the Theakston brothers' triumphant re-purchase of the business in 2003. Theakston's are interested in the craft of brewing, and brew 15 different types of cast beer. Theakstons Best Bitter is their bestselling domestic brand, Theakstons Old Peculier probably their most distinctive export.
With just 38 employees, they still have a laboratory and resident microbiologist. They use oak casks and check each of their brews at least 100 times.
They run four factory tours a day, and they are genuinely eye-opening. We watched them making Masham Glory, a special bottled beer for the Jubilee. The process is illustrated from hops to barrels, and you can enjoy a tasting sampler of six beers in the lovely old stone bar afterwards. An unmissable pitstop on a tour of the Dales.