Great things were lost in the Wimbledon Brewery Fire of 1889.
Wimbledon has a long and illustrious brewing history. The new brewery is based on the site of Merton Priory which was brewing throughout the Middle Ages until its dissolution in 1538. One 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 Head 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 recently 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.
During his 23 years in the City, Mark always had an ambition to make something tangible, enjoyable and close to home. As a longstanding Wimbledon resident and ale drinker, there was only ever one option. He re-established the Wimbledon Brewery in 2014, 125 years after the original brewery burnt down. His ambition is to brew internationally renowned, beautifully crafted, English beer.
Richard has been at the forefront of the pub industry for 20 years, working with Front Page Pubs and Tup Inns as general manager; as co-owner and as director of the Larrik pub group with Hugh Corbett; senior operations manager at Capital Pub Company and more recently as owner and director of three pubs in London and Surrey, including the award-winning Manor Arms in Streatham.