DAVENPORTS, the historic Birmingham beer known for its catchy TV jingle, is set to disappear from bars and shops – for the second time.
The range of Birmingham ales had been revived by the Highgate brewery in Walsall in 2002, two decades after the Davenports brewery on Bath Row was closed down.
But Davenports could now be disappearing again after Highgate collapsed with the loss of more than 20 jobs.
The entire workforce was made redundant and production stopped immediately when Highgate & Davenports, as the firm had been known until last year, was taken into compulsory liquidation.
The Highgate brewery at Sandy Mount Road has been making beer since 1898. But it has had a troubled time in recent years, coming close to collapse on more than one occasion. In September last year it went into administration, owing more than £1 million to the taxman.
It was bought at the last minute by property developers Simon Toon and David Lindol for £80,000. They promised to keep the brewery going, but have seen it go into compulsory liquidation less than nine months later.
Insolvency specialist Peter Darcy, of KJ Watkin & Co, is set to be officially confirmed as overseer for the liquidation today. He said: “The company has ceased trading and all employees have been made redundant.
“We are saddened by the state of affairs.”
A meeting of creditors has been set to go ahead this Friday, but the company is not expecting to recover much money from its assets. The Grade II-listed brewery on Sandy Mount Road, as well as all the brewing equipment on site, was owned by another company, and was rented by Highgate & Davenports. There were also two pubs run under the Highgate & Davenport name – the City Tavern on Bishopsgate Street in Birmingham and the Elms in Church Road, Wolverhampton. These were also owned separately and continue to trade.
Davenports is one of the most famous names in Birmingham’s history. When it was still made at the brewery on Bath Row, it was known for the catchy “beer at home means Davenports” jingle on TV adverts. The brewery had always made deliveries at home, a practice brought back at the end of last year when the Highgate brewery was taken over by its new owners.
Highgate is also a well-known name in the local brewing scene. Formerly the smallest brewer in the giant Mitchells & Butlers empire, it has passed through a number of private hands since leaving the M&B group.