The Princess Royal was toasted with a commemorative ale during a visit to a Shipley brewery.
Saltaire Brewery produced the Celebration Ale to mark yesterday’s royal visit, during which Princess Anne officially opened the firm’s new fermentation plant.
She also visited the industrial paint company Manor Coating Systems in Otley Road, Shipley, meeting staff, customers and suppliers to mark the family-run firm’s 75th year in business.
Both companies were selected for the honour from a list drawn up by the West Yorkshire Lieutenancy.
At Saltaire Brewery, which started production in 2006 and now sells 30,000 casks of beer annually, Princess Anne was given a tour of the premises and shown the different kinds of English hops used to create the strong golden ale in her honour.
After meeting guests at a specially-convened Beer Club in marquees outside, the Princess Royal unveiled a plaque celebrating the new ale, which the brewery will produce in limited- edition batches, and was presented with flowers and a gift pack containing six of the firm’s most popular brews.
Tony Gartland, the brewery’s managing director, said there was “no better way” to start 2014 than to host the royal visit.
“It is a very special occasion, and it’s great to get recognition for the work that we’ve done here over the last six or seven years,” he said.
“The Princess Royal was very interested in the brewing process and the expansion of the real ale world in general. All the preparation has been worth it, and its not too many times in a company’s lifetime that you get a royal visit, so we’re delighted.”
Manor Coating Systems was established in 1938 by Thomas Ray Smith, grandfather to Patrick Smith, the company’s managing director, who greeted the Princess on arrival.
“This visit marks the end of our 75th anniversary, and it’s a fitting way to end those celebrations,” he said. “It is a great honour for a small, independently-owned family company to be chosen, and I was astounded when we were approached.
“I never dreamed that something like this, her Royal Highness visiting our business, would happen, so it really took me by surprise. We are used to welcoming visitors on to our site, but this one is obviously special.”
The Princess Royal was given a tour of the premises alongside guests including the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Khadim Hussain, and Mr Smith’s father, Councillor Dale Smith, himself a former Lord Mayor of Bradford.
The royal party was shown the firm’s development laboratories for new products and the main production area where batches of up to 5,000 litres of paint are made before unveiling a plaque to commemorate the visit that will be placed above the entrance to the company’s trade section.