The National Brewery Centre to open in Burton

Since the Bass Museum closed in 2008, Britain has been without a major museum dedicated to brewing. The establishment of a national museum of brewing featured on my wishlist this summer, so I was delighted to see that Burton-upon-Trent is getting its museum back.

The National Brewery Centre is aiming for a Spring 2010 opening at the former Coors Visitor Centre site on Horninglow Street. Planning Solutions Limited, a specialist visitor attraction firm, will operate the museum on a 25-year lease; Coors will provide the buildings and artefacts at a peppercorn rent alongside £200,000 of match funding for start-up costs and a further £100,000 per year to maintain the buildings.

There's talk of an 'interactive experience', animatronics, live actors and the return of the shire horses. Which will be fun, but not as exciting as the thirty-barrel brewery with Steve Wellington at the helm. More White and Red Shield, for sure, but (literally) room for Bass No.1 and P2 Imperial too.

Let me be clear. It shouldn't be a glitzy, sanitised attraction with a few dodgy models. It should tell the story of Britain's brewing and tell it well, complete with bells and whistles and buttons to push. But make the centrepiece a working brewery that can be seen, smelt and heard.

Congratulations to Coors for having reason and sense, and to the local action group formed by local MP Janet Dean and chaired by former college principal Keith Norris for keeping the museum reopening on the agenda. And as for Roger Protz's claim that the decision is "proof of what can be achieved by people prepared to take to the streets and rattle the cage of a global corporation"... yeah, whatever, Comrade. Coors are in a win-win situation; they don't have to fund the operation of the centre and will reap benefits from the positive PR generated over the years. Minimising capital risk whilst maximising revenue opportunity... I'd say the centre's opening was a clear victory for market forces.

I'll still take up Rog's offer of raising a beer to the news, though. Just wish it was a glass of Number One. Next year, just maybe....