Midlands Clubs Brewery Ltd
Midlands Clubs Brewery Ltd, 82 Syston Street, Leicester, Leicestershire.
The growth of the licensed clubs movement, was partly a reflection of the post 1869 control of licences and later restrictions on opening houses, together with the general growth of the labour movement. Although the Leeds & District Clubs Brewery had existed since the early 1900s, the real development of clubs’ breweries did not take place until after the end of the First World War. The brewers had, out of restrictions on production, met the needs of their own houses first and left the clubs short of supplies.
In addition, there was a link with the wider political view on the profits made by the brewers. Hence, growth was as follows:-
- 1904 6,589 registered clubs
- 1919 8,994 registered clubs
The Northants Clubs Brewery Union Scheme dated back until at least 1900, when AA Vince was the Secretary. At this time they were setting up to produce mineral water and may have been bottling beer soon afterwards (see Irthlingborough entry in Brewed In Northants).
In 1919 the Leicester branch was founded with the support of clubs with a total membership of 50,000, at £2 per member. In July 1920 the business was formed as the Northants & Leicestershire Clubs’ Company-operative Brewery Limited (F2722). The brewery opened in 1921 and was listed the following year.
The brewhouse was in what had been the Syston Street maltings of John Henry Taylor, previously George Harrison in 1876, and shown in 1913 as No 84. Later they also had a transport department at 118 Gypsy Lane.
Unfortunately, little has been discovered about the brewery’s operations, other than a 1935 price list which exists in the LRO. In 1957 the name changed to the Midlands Clubs Brewery Ltd (or 1960 according to one House of Commons Report).
In February 1961, the product range was as follows:-
- Golden Brown
- Royal Brown Ale
- IPA Club Light
- Club Six
- Strong Ale (1055)
In addition to Guinness, they also wholesaled Double Diamond, John Bull, Artic and Graham’s Lager. The latter brews were from Allied Breweries, perhaps representing the strength of their sales in Leicester. The brewery closed on the 24th January 1969 and the House of Commons Report on the Supply of Beer in April 1969 stated that the Monopolies Commission had been informed that “due to poor trading, we have been forced to close our Brewery, and are now in the hands of a Receiver and Manager”.
Their clubs became supplied by United Clubs Brewery of Pontyclun, see Crown Brewery Co. Ltd (Pontyclun), which too later closed.
Some of the buildings remain.