The historical Midland brewery finally calls time....

Of all the sectors of the British brewing industry that have suffered the most in the last 20 years it must be the ' Regional ' breweries.

Whilst some have gone for good  ( such as  King & Barnes,  Morrells,  Ridleys  and Ushers )  other brands have been cleverly assimilated  ( in some cases misleadingly) into a new hosts  portfolio.  Few consumers are even aware the original brewery has gone,  and the brand continues to march on regardless. Only one element may hint that all is not what it seems.

So the news earlier this year that the Highgate & Davenport brewery joined this ever increasing role call was a sad one.

Starting life in 1898 as Highgate & Walsall,  like so many other Midland breweries it was the harsh industrial location that brought it prosperity with ' mild ' being the staple of the working man. 

With changing times and fortunes in the 20th century,  firstly being taken over by Mitchells & Butlers in 1938, and in turn by Bass  in 1961,  the classic Victorian Tower Brewery faced even further turmoil in recent years.  A  management  buyout in 1995 followed a sale to Aston Manor in 2000, and then to pub group Global Star in 2007.   


 In 2010 the battle for survival was finally lost ( with  a tax bill of some  £1000,000  ) and  20 members of staff were made redundant,  and brewing ceased.

The site was sold to a property developer for £80,000,  but being a Grade 2 listed building the exterior,  if not the interior,  will remain intact.

One thing I admired about Highgate was their sense of  ' tradition ' and  Highgate's bottled ' Old Ale ' I have always considered a sound quality dark brew. As a brand it went back to the very earliest days of the breweries foundation,  in fact only one year after its inception to 1899.  It has always had a warming slightly nutty palate, with an undertone of subtle molasses, and a firm consistent quality. 

It was this ' consistency ' that always struck me as its strength,  so on tasting a bottle recently  ( which must have been some of the last to come from the brewery )  the quality had inevitably perhaps dipped.

Nevertheless,  my abiding memory will always be the other excellent bottles I have enjoyed from the brewery over time.  


I will always remember Highgate as the quality brewery it once was, and that will always live on into perpetuity... in my mind at least.


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