Humber Doucy Brew Co. and its meandering founding story

Humber Doucy Brew Co. and its meandering founding story


In 2018, Alan and John Ridealgh decided it was time to live the dream.  A dream that started with John back in sixth form, and materialised with the founding of Humber Doucy Brew Co.

Alan and John believe there is nothing better than the combination of Suffolk and beer – and Humber Doucy combines the two beautifully.

A father and son team, with their brewery in Bacton, they are producing some of the finest beers in Suffolk.


Ipswich and Suffolk

The brewery, based in Bacton, has fantastic views over the fields and that never-ending Suffolk sky, making it the perfect location to create traditional Suffolk bitter, session ales and seasonal brews.

Humber Doucy is committed to using local barley and malt, and even Suffolk botanicals. To have a brewery surrounded by the actual fields providing the barley is pretty special.

Whilst Suffolk has a few well-known household names brewing in large quantities, craft brewing is still growing in the county.

Alan and John love being part of an industry which is known for being friendly, supportive and collaborative. They have ambitions to help put Ipswich firmly on the craft brew map.


Inspiration for the name

As a 17-year-old, attending a local sixth form, John would travel down Humber Doucy Lane each day.  

For those not familiar with the road, it links Tuddenham Road and Playford Road, running parallel with the main ring road in the town. In 1947, prefab houses were built on one side in response to the immediate need for housing following the war: nearly 80 years later, the temporary housing is still going strong. Those houses, and the more traditional homes, face open fields, giving a glimpse into the Suffolk countryside. The fields are broken up by Ipswich Rugby Club, an institution in the town for the past 150 years.

John remembers seeing the name whilst at sixth form, and thinking what a perfect name it would be for a beer – and a “few” years later, Humber Doucy Brew Co. was created.


Humber Doucy – sweet shade

No one really knows why Humber Doucy Lane was named as such but one theory is that it has origins in the French “ombre douce” meaning sweet shade. Local historians theorise that during the Napoleonic Wars, when Ipswich was home to many French prisoners of war, they may have travelled down the then tree lined track, and enjoyed the shade after a hard day’s labour in the fields. 


And where could be better than enjoying a local craft brew than in the sweet shade of Suffolk?


Meandering route

It’s taken John a few years since having that thought in school to get together with his Dad and start Humber Doucy Brew Co. Over that time he has qualified as an accountant (always a great skill to have as a business owner!), been the guitarist in a punk rock band, and run a Home Brewing Shop in the centre of Ipswich. You just need a five-minute conversation with John to realise his passion for brewing runs deep.  He has taken the hobby of home brewing as a teenager, to become an accomplished, talented brewer with a passion for authenticity and quality.


Alan worked for international malt producer Muntons for over thirty years so is no stranger to the brewing industry. His passion is more at the end of the process and quality testing the brews!


The Suffolk stars aligned in 2017 when local premises, perfect for converting into a brewery became available. And two years later, the first brew was bottled.

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