It was in 1986 that Hop Back history began, when John and Julie Gilbert purchased the freehold of The Wyndham Arms, a public house on the outskirts of Salisbury in Wiltshire. The space in the cellar of the pub and its backyard enabled John Gilbert to begin brewing quality ales for sale at The Wyndham Arms.
Within two years, the beers were achieving recognition at CAMRA's beer festivals and in June 1991 a second public house, The Waterloo Arms in Southampton, was purchased by the partnership.
The beers produced by John Gilbert were sold in these two tied outlets and, largely because of their reputation and the support of CAMRA awards, began to be sold direct to wholesalers, free houses and tied houses as guest beers. The beers won further awards at festivals and exhibitions, helping to stimulate demand to the point where brewing at The Wyndham Arms reached full capacity. To cope with this increase in demand, Hop Back Brewery Limited was formed in October 1991 to substantially increase the scale of brewing operations. The new Company acquired the lease of a factory unit at Downton, between Salisbury and Southampton, and after refurbishment and installation of equipment, commenced brewing in June 1992.
The real turning point for Hogs Back Brewery came in 1997 when the now iconic brew 'Summer Lightning' triumphed at the Great British Beer Festival at Olympia. Hogs Back Brewery have since established a national presence with their diverse range of seasonal real ales and bottled conditioned ales.
Regular beers from Hogs Back include: Summer Lightning, GFB, Red Ember, Taiphoon and Crop Circle.