Thursday, 17 June 2010

Historic Highgate Brewery to close

Highgate Brewery, the historic Walsall mild ale producer in the West Midlands, is to close after many years of constant change of ownership. Twenty jobs will go. The company, now called Highgate & Davenports, has gone into voluntary liquidation following its second financial crisis in 10 months. It went into administration in September 2009 with reported tax debts of more than £1 million.
The brewery in Sandymount Road was quickly sold in a deal worth £80,000 by the administrators to two property developers, Simon Toon and David Lindol. But insolvency firm KK Watkin toady confirmed the brewery's liquidation. Administrator Peter Darcy said: "The company has ceased trading and all employees have been made redundant."
The red-brick Victorian buildings are Grade II listed but this would not prevent the site being turned into flats.
Highgate opened in 1898 with a capacity of 100,000 barrels a year, to make dark mild for workers engaged in the local leather industry. In 1938, Highgate was taken over by the giant Birmingham brewery Mitchells & Butlers, another major producer of mild. M&B planned to close Highgate but kept it open during world War Two, when every brewery received rations of malt and hops, and M&B didn't want to lose the raw materials earmarked for the Walsall plant.
When M&B became part of Bass, Highgate continued to brew as the smallest plant in the Bass group. It was bought by its management in 1995 and ownership passed to the Aston Manor brewing company in Birmingham, which produces packaged beers and ciders. Aston Manor eventually sold Highgate on again. The brewery acquired the rights to use the old Davenports name and recreated some of the beers from that long-closed Birmingham brewery. But its main products continued to be Highgate Dark, its legendary mild, and the stronger version, Highgate Old, brewed for the winter months.
A local campaign to save the brewery has been set up and signatures are needed. See the Facebook page Save the Highgate Brewery at:


Anonymous Johnny Norfolk said...

Some close others open, Thats how it has alwys been and thats how it will always be.Its called the market. Its a pity in some ways but things move on.

20 June 2010 at 14:39  

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