Ind Coope Bottling Stores

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The end of the line for Ind Coope’s Burton Bottling Stores by Ian Webster

Demolition of the old Ind Coope bottling stores in Burton on Trent was completed just days after the 70th anniversary of the opening of 'Britain's Greatest Bottling Stores'. 140 new homes will now be built on the site as part of a £3 million scheme.

Having founded a brewery in 1799 at Romford in Essex, Messrs Ind Coope Ltd moved to Burton in 1856 for the local water more suited to the production of pale ales which were in vogue at the time. They purchased partially finished premises in Station Street from William Middleton. When more malting capacity was needed, on one side stood Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton Ltd’ Middle Brewery and on the other was Allsopp & Sons Ltd's New Brewery so a plot of land on the other side of the railway station was purchased from the Marquis of Anglesey and four malt houses were erected in 1870.

Both Ind Coope and Allsopps struggled financially at the end of the nineteenth century and after two failed attempts to merge in 1906 and 1912 they eventually amalgamated on March 15, 1934, to become Ind Coope and Allsopp Ltd. Prior to the merger both breweries had their own small bottling stores, Allsopps was in Station Street and Ind Coopes next to the four 1870 maltings, now known as Malthouses 2, 3, 4 and 5.

With buoyant sales of the company's flagship bottled Double Diamond, a state-of-the-art bottling facility was needed and plans for the Curzon Street Bottling Stores were drawn up in 1945. To keep costs down Malthouses 2, 3, 4 and 5 were joined together and an additional single storey building constructed. The initial cost was £262,350 which included seven bottling units and new railway sidings. The Curzon Street Bottling Stores was opened on September 30, 1948.

Mr Bloomfield, the bottling stores manager, lived in a house on the premises, known as 'Nut Brown Manor' after a popular drink at the time. Along with seven bottling lines, pasteurisers, machines for sorting and washing the bottles and a labelling device; the site also had a first aid room run by Sister Kiddoo, a canteen where breakfast could be had for 10d., and a pub called The Bottlers' Arms where all employees over the age of 18 could draw their beer allowance of two pints a day.

Beers produced included Double Diamond, John Bull, Arctic Ale, Allsopp's Special Stout, Ind Coope and Allsopp's Sparkling Ale, Nut Brown Ale and Graham's Golden Lager (later rebranded as Skol Lager). By 1956 Long Life and Allsopp's Lager began to be produced in can, an innovative move and new bottling and canning lines were added to keep up with the ever-increasing demand.

The company joining up with Tetley Walker Ltd and Ansells Brewery Ltd in 1961 and became Allied Breweries in 1963, this being one of the 'Big Six' of British brewing. In 1983 a modernisation project began at Ind Coope Burton Brewery which would eventually lead to the bottling and canning facilities relocating to the main site. The last tankers carrying beer from the brewery to Curzon Street finished in December 1987. The buildings lay empty until 1991 when it began its third and final phase, as an industrial estate Imex Business Park. It was the home to numerous different firms including fittingly The Black Hole Brewery.

From the celebration brochure issued in 1949