Free beer offer for help to solve Sunderland Vaux Breweries mystery
A brewery boss has made a plea for the public's help in finally solving a 20-year golden mystery.
Mark Anderson, managing director of Maxim Brewery, on the edge of Sunderland, is hoping to trace three solid gold tankards which were regularly presented by the city's former Vaux Breweries to the owners of victorious horses and pigeons.
Mr Anderson, who was finance director at Vaux when it closed in July 1999, explained: "Vaux used to sponsor a range of sports as its way of putting something back into the community.
"Racing, as the sport of kings, and pigeon racing, supposedly more a common man's sport, were just two of them.
"The gold tankards would be presented to the winners of races sponsored by Vaux and handed back not long after in return for mini replicas.
"We have some of the replicas but not the originals and it would be nice to be reunited with them in time for the 20th anniversary of Vaux's closure in July."
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Around 700 people lost their jobs when the Vaux board heeded disputed advice from London investors by deciding to concentrate on the company's chain of pubs and hotels.
Mr Anderson and two senior colleagues quickly formed Maxim and have since lovingly recreated treasured beers such as Double Maxim and Lambton's.
As part of its mission to brew 20 beers to mark this year's anniversary, Maxim is also reproducing Gold Tankard, a 4.2% gold ale, on cask in June.
Mr Anderson added: "The original tankards went missing like a lot of things when the brewery closed.
"It would be lovely to have them here with our collection of Vaux memorabilia or on display at the Sunderland Museum.
"There'll certainly be some beer on offer as a reward for anyone who can help us trace them."
The three gold tankards are about six-inches tall and anyone with information can contact Mr Anderson at the brewery, based at Houghton, on (0191) 5848844.