William Watney ran the Wheatsheaf Brewery in the Crooked Billet area of Wimbledon in the 18th century. His direct descendants went on to establish the famous Watney brewing empire.
The Wimbledon Brewery was started by William Cook in 1832. It stood in Wimbledon High Street where the old fire station is today. Next door was the Brewery Tap beer house, also run by William Cook. At that time there were 115 breweries in the London excise district.
Following a number of changes of ownership, the brewery was taken over by William Quartermaine in 1880. It was Quartermaine who built the five-storey tower brewery, the highest building in Wimbledon at the time. The brewery was described as: “Having a modern plant on the Tower Principle, with brewer’s office, malt and hops lofts, boiler house and tun rooms, counting house etc, together with well-established tap and shop.”
Amongst the 11 beers listed in Wimbledon Brewery advertisements of the time were pins, firks and kils of XXXK, XXX, XX, India Pale Ale, P.A., Family Pale Ale, Imperial Double Stout and AK Dinner Ale.
A fire started at the brewery on January 2nd 1889 and although the interior of the building was badly damaged and all the brewing equipment and machinery destroyed, the main structure of the building was left intact.
Today’s Wimbledon Brewery can be characterised in very similar terms to the one described above. Our logo incorporates the image of the tower, the phoenix and barley and hops, representing our heritage and our focus on using only the best ingredients. We are custodians of the heritage and traditions of beer brewing, whilst also inspiring the new generation of beer drinkers and brewers.
Our philosophy at the Wimbledon Brewery is to utilise the best brewing materials both for our traditional British ales, and for our range of world inspired beers.
Our brewing team are all qualified brewers with ongoing training programmes and a strong passion both for the brewing world and the beers we brew.
Our consulting Master Brewer, Derek Prentice, has enjoyed a long career in brewing and has brewed great beers with a number of famous London breweries including Truman’s, Young’s and Fuller’s. Derek received the SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers) lifetime achievement award and was awarded the British Guild of Beer Writers ‘Brewer of the Year’ for 2013. Derek is a Diploma Master Brewer and a Fellow of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. Derek’s favourite Wimbledon beer is the Common Pale Ale and his favourite World beer is Rochefort 8. He says a highpoint was ‘lifting the trophy for champion of the cask ales champion at the International Brewing Awards for our Copper Leaf 4.0% cask ale’.
Gareth calls himself a ‘Northerner in exile’. Gareth studied at Heriot-Watt for his post-graduate degree in Brewing and Distilling. As Head Brewer at Wimbledon Brewery, his favourite Wimbledon beer is SW19, our beautifully balanced session ale.
Favourite Non-WB beer: Pojhala Ryequilla Oo was insane, Burial Vault by Burning Sky and others, both one offs.
Best thing in production? Wylam Jakehead.