Plans to revive the Wimbledon Brewery brand have taken a step forward after entrepreneur Mark Gordon received planning approval from Merton Council to open a 30-barrel facility at College Fields, Prince Georges Road.
Mark left his job in banking in 2013 to set up the Wimbledon Brewery, and is hoping pour his first pint as early as June this year.
Wimbledon Hill Road resident Mark has teamed up with master brewer Derek Prentice to produce the perfect pint. The pair’s first beer is a pale ale named after Wimbledon Common, where the original brewers sourced their water.
The first Wimbledon Brewery Company was established by William Cook in 1832 in Wimbledon Village, opposite what is now the Dog and Fox pub. The five-storey building used state-of-the-art techniques before disaster struck in 1889.
An article published in the Surrey Independent and Mid-Surrey Standard in January 1889 reads: “A fire broke out in the Wimbledon Brewery on Wednesday morning, and in consequence of the long delay that occurred before the arrival of the fire engine, the whole of the inside of the building was consumed, the damage being estimated at £2,000.”
The original brewery became Wimbledon Village’s first fire station later that year.
And the new brand’s logo also draws on Wimbledon’s rich history. It has been designed to incorporate a press drawing of the original brewery and a phoenix rising from the flames.
The original Wimbledon brewery was not the first historic building in the village to be destroyed by fire. In 1785, Wimbledon House – which was built by the ‘Maker of Wimbledon’ Thomas Cecil, the 1st Earl of Exeter – was also engulfed by flames.
Thomas Cecil is well known for making significant improvements on the road from Wimbledon to London. This development is credited with kick-starting the growth of Wimbledon Village, with other large homes following. These include Eagle House – built by Robert Bell of the East India Company in 1613 – and West Side House, which appeared in in 1750.
Mark and Derek are hoping to become equally well known in the local community. “If we get it right, it can be something Merton can be proud of,” says Mark.
The pair hope to produce a range of five core beers that will be on offer in pubs and bars across the borough and beyond. However, Mark adds that they will not taste like the brews produced by the original brewery. “Then it was a lot stronger – it was seven or eight per cent and the flavour was different. The modern palate is different,” he says.
When the operation gets underway, one of the first places the new beers will be on sale is the new brewery in Colliers Wood.
Documents submitted to Merton Council reveal the brewery will have mezzanine floor for the brewery shop selling bottled beers and branded merchandise.
And a tap room will be on the same floor as a classroom and reception, which will allow for brewery tours and educational visits.
Details about the new Wimbledon Brewery Company were first published by The Wimbledon Guardian.
Image credit: Wimbledon Brewery