Higsons is a Liverpool brewery founded in 1780, closed by Whitbread in 1990 and then reopened by new owners as the Cains Brewery in 1991. Higsons beer was brewed in Sheffield and Durham for a few years after closure before being discontinued. The beer brand was revived in the 21st century a couple of times and now looks set for another rebirth in 2016.
Expansion through the 1920s
In 1918 the brewery was bought by J. Sykes & Company. The combined company began to expand further, acquiring several public houses in the Wirral area and the Spraggs Brewery in 1919. In 1923, the company bought the newly merged Walker Cains' Brewery in Liverpool's Stanhope Street following that company's decision to focus production at its Warrington brewery. There was one last push for expansion in 1927, when the firm acquired Joseph Jones & Co. in Knotty Ash. A further 70 public houses were added as a result.
The later years
In 1962, Higsons purchased a new head office in North Street, Liverpool. 1974 saw the brewery merge with James Mellor & Sons. In 1978, Higsons acquired the Bent's Brewery, which was based next to its North Street head office. The vendor was the Bass Brewery. Boddingtons of Manchester acquired Higsons in 1985 but decided to abandon brewing in 1989 to focus on its pubs. Boddingtons' brewing arm was sold to Whitbread in 1990 which then subsequently closed the Higsons Stanhope brewery.
Revival of the Higsons brand
In 2005, the former Mayflower Brewery in Wigan originally run by a former Higsons brewing chemist was commissioned to recreate the original Higsons Bitter in a series of test-brews. The beer was subsequently produced in Liverpool before production ended.
2016 Craft Brewery Proposals
In December 2015, the Liverpool Echo reported that a company called Higsons Brewery Limited had applied for planning permission to convert two vacant warehouses in Liverpool into a brewery with a distillery, visitor centre, shop and sampling hall. Higsons Brewery Ltd is owned by the former managing director of the Caledonian Brewery Stephen Crawley. As well as his 25 years' experience in the brewing industry, Stephen grew up on the Wirral and his wife controls the company which owns the Higsons brand. These factors combine to make this latest relaunch look very credible.
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