Lost Breweries of Devon
The following is a list of defunct breweries in Devon which we believe to have been in existence at some point. Where possible, the closure year has been given, although this may have been lost in the fullness of time, as memories fade and accurate information may have been lost. If you have any corrections or omissions, please email ku.gro.armac.htuomylp@retsambew
A large number of CAMRA publications have been used in this compilation, including “Where Have All The Breweries Gone?” (1980), “Devon Real Ale Guide” (1990), “Moor To Sea – A Devon Real Ale Guide” (1993) and the “Good Beer Guide” (various years).
Thompson’s Brewery, West Street. Established in 1981 to supply the London Inn, its’ own pub. Trade quickly picked up, leading to brewing capacity increasing to 10 000-barrels a year by 1992. The brewery offices relocated to Exeter in 1993, and they purchased the Mitten & Mermaid pub, in Shrewsbury. Sadly, the brewery had ceased trading by late 1997. It is unknown what happened to the brew plant.
Barnstaple Brewery Co, Taw Vale, founded in 1851 by John Kay. Taken over by Arnold Perrett and Co Ltd, of Wickwar, Avon, and was sold to Starkey, Knight & Ford Ltd, of Bridgewater in 1897. The premises may currently be used as a depot.
E Petter & Son, Anchor Brewery, Boutport Street. 10 Licensed houses. The brewery and 7 public houses were sold to William Hancock & Sons (Wiveliscombe) Ltd in 1918 for £2 000, the other three being acquired by Starkey, Knight & Ford Ltd.
William Pugsley & Son, 35 Bear Street. Closed c1930.
R. Barrow & Sons, East of the Water Brewery, Torrington Street. Closed c1910.
Nigel Fitzhugh, Blackawton Brewery, brewery founded in 1977 in part of a converted smithy. The equipment was mainly from the Tamar Brewery, Devonport, which closed in 1975. It supplied 15 regular pubs, and several clubs. The brewery relocated to Washbourne in 1981, then to Cornwall in 2000, but returned “home” in 2011. Sadly, brewing ceased by 2012.
Braunton Brewery Ltd, Unit 9 Chivenor Business Park. Braunton was established in 2014 by three friends. Having moved to new premises, commercial brewing began in early 2015, using a 4-barrel plant. The brewery quickly established a growing local following. Four regular beers were produced, with one off specials occasionally available. All plant was unexpectedly sold to a brew pub chain in Cape Town, South Africa, in mid 2017.
Astley & Harvey, Lakeman’s Brewery, Fore Street. Originally under the name of Thomas Lakeman. The brewery was purchased by a cider manufacturer in 1934 and was sold to Simonds, of Reading, in November 1937 with 50 licensed houses. Brewing ceased c1950 and the brewery was demolished. The bus station now occupies the site.
Burrington Brewery, Homelands Business Centre. Started brewing in spring 2003. A five-barrel brewplant built was formerly at Ales of Kent. Brewing ceased in 2007. Reports at the time indicated that it had relocated, but they could not be confirmed at the time.
Harry C Watts, Taken over by E Petter & Son, of Barnstaple, in 1905.
Big Rabbit. A brewery established in Cullompton in June 2014, and part of the Olde Mill Limited, of London Cider Co fame. The brewery has relocated from Cullompton, Devon, to Glasgow in mid 2017.
Bartlett & Co, Warfleet Brewery. Taken over by the Heavitree Brewery Ltd, of Exeter, in 1926. The premises were being used by Dartmouth Pottery in the 1990’s.
Richard Brock Ferris, Dartmouth Brewery, High Street. Founded in 1827, but was taken over by Heavitree Brewery Ltd, of Exeter, with about 30 licensed houses, and a mineral water plant.
Aylwin & Snowden, Well Park Brewery, Alphington Road. Originally formed under the name of Ross & Pidsley until 1911, and then Ross & Son until 1913, when the business was acquired by Aylwin & Snowden. Taken over by Devenish & Co in 1925, with 22 licensed houses. The brewery was used as a depot until 1958.
Carr & Quick Ltd, West of England Brewery, 15 Queen Street. Founded in 1853, but the brewery and 7 licensed houses were bought by Carr & Quick in 1909. Brewing ceased after 1926 but the business was carried on under the name Ash, Carr & Quick Ltd, beer, wine and spirits merchants. It became a subsidiary of Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton Ltd.
Crowson & Son, Windsor Brewery, Heavitree. Taken over by Heavitree Brewery Ltd in 1899 for £50 000.
Fizgig & Firkin, St Annie’s Well, Lower North Street. The Firkin concept of pubs was founded by David Bruce in London in 1979. The small chain were sold in 1988, and again in 1991 to Allied Domecq (Allied Breweries). Not all pubs brewed beer, but this one did from 1997, and supplied all the Firkin pubs in Devon.
Heavitree Brewery Ltd, 16 Church Street, Heavitree. Founded in 1790, and was registered in England in 1890 to acquire the business of E N Birkett. 130 licensed houses. Brewing ceased in 1970, due to increased demand for national brews. Brewery demolished in 1972.
W Mortimer, St Thomas Brewery, Okehampton Street. The brewery and 7 licensed houses were sold to WH Morton, of Exeter, for £10 000 in 1919.
Norman & Pring Ltd, City Brewery, 1 Commercial Road. Founded in 1700 and taken over by Whitbread & Co Ltd with 102 licensed houses in April 1962. The business merged with Starkey, Knight & Ford Ltd in 1964. Brewing had ceased at the City Brewery in 1956, when production was concentrated at St Anne’s Well Brewery, but bottling continued until 1968 when the brewery unfortunately burnt down.
St Anne’s Well Brewery Co Ltd, Low North Street. It was founded in c1819. A partial amalgamation took place with Norman & Pring Ltd in 1944, both companies running separately until they were completely merged in 1956. They had 78 licensed houses. Brewing ceased in 1967/68.
Warrior Brewing Co, Matfield House, Old Matford Lane, Matford. Started brewing November 2004, before relocating in early 2009 where it shared a building, but not plant, with Coastal. Sadly, brewing ceased in May 2010, the plant was sold, and the brewer relocated to the West Midlands.
Dartmoor Union, Fore Street. Brew-pub located in the leafy South Hams, established in 2005. The pub and brewery changed hands in 2010, with the brewery being sold again in 2012, as the Union Brewery. Sadly, due to various issues, the brewery did not establish itself and ceased trading in Autumn 2012.
Mildmay, brew pub in the wonderful South Hams, brewing began in 1993 to supply the Mildmay Colours pub only. Expansion in 1994 meant that capacity was increased up to 50 barrels per week. Was this the forerunner of Dartmoor Union ?
JG Hann & Co, Mill Street. Brewing ceased c1921.
Royal Inn. Long-established 15th century pub located on the Devon/Cornwall border. Brewing began in 1981, but stopped temporarily after a change of ownership until restarting in 1984. Brewing ceased after another change of ownership c1999?
Blewitt’s Brewery, the Ship and Plough Inn, The Quay. Established in the Ship and Plough Inn in 1991 to supply three beers for the pub only. Owner, Steve Blewitt, relocated to the Sorley Tunnel Adventure Farm in 1999, where visitors could watch the beer being brewed. Sadly, the brewery ceased production in 2004.
John Kelland, London Brewery, Church Street. Offered for auction, with 11 licensed houses, on 22nd July 1904.
South Devon Brewery Ltd, South Devon Steam Brewery, Union Road. It was originally known as WH Prowse & Sons until 1946. Brewing ceased on 1st October 1948, with all beer being supplied by Tamar Brewery, Devonport. They remained an independent brewery until 1951, when Simonds, of Reading, took them over with a total of 25 licensed houses owned by them and their associate company CW Blundell (Plymouth) Ltd.
E Philbrick, Apps Brewery, Taken over by Starkey, Knight & Ford Ltd, of Bridgewater, in 1901.
MacBride’s Brewery, 63 East Street. The brewery was established in the Dartmouth Inn, a pub with a good reputation for real ale in 2003, but ceased brewing in Autumn 2004. It reopened as Dartmouth Brewery in 2007, but brewing had ceased again by 2010.
Mill Brewery, Bradley Lane. Founded in 1983 in an old watermill, brewing on a part-time basis and supplied local free trade pubs with beer under the name “Janner”, a local name for a Devonian. It changed hands in 1994, with the new owners going full time. Sadly, the brewery had ceased production by 1997.
Mills Brothers, Old Brewery, 16 Wolborough Street. Offered for sale in August 1921 due to the advancing age of the proprietor, and was bought by the St Anne’s Well Brewery Co Ltd, of Exeter, in 1924 with 6 licensed houses.
Pinsent & Sons, Highweek Street. Taken over by the Heavitree Brewery Ltd, of Exeter, in 1919 with 44 tied houses.
Torbay Brewery & Cyder Co Ltd, 44 Victoria Street. Registered in May 1890, but was then taken over by Arnold, Perrett & Co Ltd, of Wickwar, Avon, in June 1893. It was sold to Starkey, Knight & Ford Ltd, of Bridgewater, in 1896.
Crocombe & Son. Brewing ceased in c1939.
Ash & Son, Wine Merchants, of Devonport. It is believed that they owned a small number of Plymouth pubs (about 15), but did not brew beer themselves. They may be connected to Carr & Quick Ltd, of Exeter.
G Crake, Tamar Brewery, 12 Tamar Street, Devonport. Taken over by Simonds Ltd, of Reading, in 1919 with about 28 licensed houses. Brewing ceased in 1975, with some of the plant being sold to Blackawton Brewery, of Blackawton.
Devonport & Tiverton Brewery Co Ltd, New Passage Brewery, John Street, Devonport and the Old Brewery, Tiverton. Registered in December 1876, and went into voluntary liquidation in May 1923.
Eagle Brewing Co, Queen Street, Devonport. The brewery and 11 licensed house were sold for £29 850 on 19th July 1921.
New Bedford Brewery (Plymouth) Ltd, Alexandra Road, Mutley. Registered in 1900 as the Bedford Brewery (Plymouth) Ltd and was re-registered as above in 1919 when they were acquired by Samuel Allsopp Ltd, of Burton-Upon-Trent. The business was then transferred to the New Victoria Brewery Co.
New Victoria Brewery Co Ltd, Hyde Park Road, Mutley. Registered in October 1898 to acquire the Victoria Brewery Co Ltd. Taken over by Samuel Allsopp Ltd, of Burton-Upon-Trent, prior to 1920, and ceased brewing in 1953.
Octagon Brewery Ltd, 5-7 Martin Street, Stonehouse. Founded in 1861 by Joseph Godfrey. 48 licensed houses were owned. They were taken over by Simonds Ltd, of Reading, in 1954 and brewing ceased c1970.
Plymouth Breweries Ltd, Regent Brewery, Stonehouse. Registered in October 1889 and acquired and amalgamated: Samuel Vosper, Regent Brewery; Amanda Henrietta Butcher, Anchor Brewery, Chapel Street, Stonehouse; G Ryall, Frankfort Street Brewery; and the South Devon Brewery, all in Plymouth; and the Saltash Brewery, Saltash. Taken over by Courage Ltd, of London, in December 1970 for £6 500 000. The name was changed to Courage Plymouth Brewery Ltd on 21st November 1971. The brewery was closed in 1984.
Point’s West Brewery, established in City College, Plymouth, Catering School, in 2000 by Roger Pengelly, an ex CAMRA South West Regional Director. Brewing ceased in 2004. It is believed that the brew plant and bottling facility is available for lease on site - please contact City College, and NOT Plymouth CAMRA, if you are looking to brew beer locally !
Plymouth Brewery, re-commissioned the Point’s West plant in 2011, under the stewardship of The Millfield's Trust, a not-for-profit charitable organisation. Two beers were brewed, with profits going to support local youth organisations in Stonehouse. Brewing ceased in 2015.
Popplestone & Co, are believed to have brewed beer, and were known locally as "Pops". Six tied houses in Plymouth were owned. No further information is known.
Garage Brewery, 8 Church Road. Small, self-built microbrewery established in 2011 in an outbuilding of the London Inn pub. Four regular beers were produced on a part-time basis at weekends, for sale in the pub and a small number of local free houses. Brewing ceased in 2014, when full-time work committments necessitated closure.
Furguson’s Plympton Brewery, Valley Road. Set up in the Hall’s Plympton depot in 1984 to supply 3 ales to Hall’s estate of 32 pubs in the area, plus 120 free trade accounts. Operated like an autonomous independent company under the vast umbrella of Allied Breweries, and its subsidiary company names, over the years. Rationalisation by Carlsberg-Tetley meant that the Furguson-branded beers were contract brewed by St Austell, and the brewery was closed in 1996.
Ringmore Brewery, Higher Ringmore Road. Ringmore was established in 2007 on a one-barrel plant and was the first brewery in Shaldon since 1920. It expanded to a 2.5-barrel plant in 2009 to keep up with demand. The brewer retired in 2013 and sold the plant to a local restauranteur who opened a new brewery in Shaldon, Two Beach Brewing.
Two Beach Brewery, Ness Cove. Restauranteur Andy Cope bought the Ringmore brewing plant in 2013, and brewed four regular core ales, and regular seasonal specials. However, the plant was again sold in 2017 to a local fabrications company for renovations, before being sold on. No further details are held.
Vallance’s Brewery Ltd, Temple Street. It was founded in 1832 by Richard Searle, then taken over by Woodhead’s Brewery Ltd, of London, in 1946, with 35 licensed houses, and then by Devenish & Co Ltd, of Weymouth, in 1957. Brewing had ceased by 1980.
Johnstone & Johnstone, Tavistock Brewery, Brook Street. Possibly successors to the next entry? Offered for auction as Hilton & Sons on 2nd July 1913 with 7 tied houses, but was withdrawn from sale at £3 050. Brewing had ceased by c1927.
Tavistock Brewery Co Ltd, registered in January 1897, but ceased trading in 1899 with assets being sold at auction. A subsidiary of Flowers & Sons, of Stratford-Upon-Avon.
Brown & Bishop, Teign Brewery, 21 Teign Street. Brewing had ceased by c1931.
Thomas Ford & Son. Founded in 1852, but taken over by Starkey, Knight & Co Ltd in 1895, and then Whitbread & Co, of London, in 1962.
Topsham Brewery. A cooperative brewery run by volunteers in an outbuilding of the Globe Hotel. The lease was not renewed, and the plant was sold to a Scottish pub/hotel/restaurant on the banks of Loch Ness in January 2018.
Greenslade Brothers, St Mary Church Brewery, Fore Street. Taken over by Plymouth Breweries Ltd, of Plymouth, in 1925.
Swayne & Co Ltd, Ellacombe Brewery. Taken over by Plymouth Breweries Ltd, of Plymouth, in 1925.
Torquay Brewing & Trading Co Ltd, 34 Fleet Street. Registered in 1865 to acquire the business of Matchem & Hussey. Taken over by Plymouth Breweries Ltd, of Plymouth, in 1897.
St Giles in the Wood, Unit 2 Hatchmoor Industrial Estate, Great Torrington. The brewery was founded in 1998 by publican, Steve Lock, to supply beer to his three pubs, using the original Sutton Brewing equipment (who are now trading as South Hams Brewery). Steve then sold the brewery to Brian Broughton, who renamed it Clearwater in January 1999. The brewery was sold in 2009 to businessman, Barry Raynes, and the brewery moved to new larger premises in Bideford in 2013.
Walter & Phillips, Lion Brewery, South Street. The brewery and 16 tied houses were offered for auction 31st October 1921.
Furze & Co Ltd. Registered in 1903 and taken over by Starkey, Knight & Ford Ltd in 1918, with 26 tied houses, and was closed.
Baskerville Brewing Co Ltd, Lower Yelland Farm. Baskerville were formed after the demise of Tarka Ales, brewing commenced in early 2006, but ceased in December 2010. At the time, it was believed that the equipment was still in place at the same location, and that another company called Devon Brewing Company may have been operating from the same Yelland location.
Devon Brewing Co, Lower Yelland Farm. Apparently rising after the closure of Baskerville, they did not establish themselves, and the plant was sold.
Tarka Ales, Lower Yelland Farm. Test brews were seen from this brewery at The Quay, Instow, from early 2003. Brewing started properly in the first week of June 2003 using the five-barrel plant previously at Clearwater. The brewery was taken over during early 2006, as Baskerville Brewing Co Ltd.
Other Selected Brewing Companies, out of Devon
Starkey, Knight & Ford Ltd, 54 High Street, Bridgewater, Somerset, and at Tiverton. Registered in November 1887 as Starkey, Knight & Co Ltd, and changed to the above in April 1895 when Thomas Ford & Son, of Tiverton, were acquired. Pubs in the Plymouth area were adorned with "Tivvy Beers" and a black horse on the outside of the pub. Taken over by Whitbread & Co Ltd in December 1962, with 400 tied houses. The business was merged with Norman & Pring Ltd, of Exeter, in 1964.
South Devon Brewery Ltd, South Devon Steam Brewery, Union Road, Kingsbridge, Devon. It was originally known as WH Prowse & Sons until 1946. Brewing ceased on 1st October 1948, with all beer being supplied by Tamar Brewery, Devonport. They remained an independent brewery until 1951, when Simonds, of Reading, took them over with a total of 25 licensed houses owned by them and their associate company CW Blundell (Plymouth) Ltd.
Samuel Allsopp & Sons Ltd, Burton-Upon-Trent, Staffs. Allsopp’s was founded in 1709, registered in February 1887, and merged with Ind Coope Ltd in 1934 to form Ind Coope & Allsopp’s Ltd. Formed Allied Breweries in 1961 after merger with Ansell’s Brewery Ltd and Tetley Walker.
Ind Coope Ltd, High Street, Burton-Upon-Trent, and Star Brewery, Romford, Essex. The company was founded at Romford in 1708, with the Burton brewery being established in 1856. It was registered in November 1886, and merged with Allsopps in 1934, and then Ansell’s and Tetley Walker in 1961 to form Allied Breweries.
Allied Breweries, 107 Station Street, Burton-Upon-Trent. Established in 1961 after the merger of Ind Coope & Allsopp’s, Ansells and Tetley Walker, and operated a small number of pubs in the Plymouth area under the name of Halls, who owned the Plympton Brewery, Furguson’s, in Valley Road, Plympton.
H & G Simonds Ltd, founded in 1774 at Broad Street, Reading, moved to Bridge Street in 1790. Taken over by Courage, Barclay & Co Ltd, of London, in 1960. Brewing ceased in 1979.
Courage & Co Ltd, Anchor Brewery, Horselydown, Bermondsey, SE1. The brewery was acquired by John Courage in 1787. They merged with Barclay, Perkins & Co Ltd in 1955 to form Courage, Barclay & Co Ltd. Taken over by Imperial Tobacco Co in August 1972.
Courage Ltd, Bristol Brewery, Bath Street, Bristol. The former George’s Brewery was the only Courage brewery in the south of England brewing cask ales by 1992, following the closure of breweries in London, Reading and Plymouth, and the sale of Ushers, of Trowbridge, with a management buyout.
Whitbread & Co Ltd, Chiswell Street, London EC1. Founded in 1742 and registered in July 1889. A new brewery was built in Luton in 1969, but brewing ceased here in 1975. Most real ales were brewed at the Cheltenham brewery.
Flowers & Sons Ltd, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire. It was founded in 1831 and registered in February 1888. It was taken over by JW Green, of Luton, in 1954, who changed the name to Flowers & Sons Ltd. It was closed in 1968, when Whitbread merged Flowers with West Country Breweries, to form Whitbread Flowers Ltd.
West Country Breweries, 256 High Street, Cheltenham. Initially incorporated on 15th April 1888 as the Cheltenham Original Brewing Co Ltd, to acquire the business of JT Agg-Gardner, which was founded in 1760. The name was changed to the Cheltenham & Hereford Brewery Ltd in 1945, when the Hereford & Tredegar Brewery Ltd was taken over. The name was later changed to Cheltenham Brewery Holdings Ltd. They then merged again, with Stroud Brewery Co Ltd in 1958, to form West Country Breweries, with 1275 licensed houses. Finally, in 1963, they were taken over by Whitbread & Co Ltd, forming Whitbread Flowers Ltd.
JA Devenish & Co Ltd, 15 Trinity Street, Weymouth, and Redruth, Cornwall. Founded in 1742, and had 390 tied houses, with the Redruth plant trading under the name Cornish Brewery Company.
Watney, 91 Brick Lane, London. This was the brewing arm of the food, drinks and retailing group, Grand Metropolitan PLC. Most of their estate traded under the name Usher’s, until the Usher’s management buyout of 1992 brought Usher’s out of this large conglomerate.
William Hancock & Sons (Wiveliscombe) Ltd, Wiveliscombe, Somerset. Registered in 1896, and merged with Arnold & Sons Ltd, of Taunton, in 1927, forming Arnold & Hancock Ltd. Taken over by Usher’s Wiltshire Brewery in 1955. It may be in farm use today (2018).
Worthington & Co Ltd, Burton-Upon-Trent, Staffordshire. Founded in 1744 and registered in January 1889. Merged with Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton Ltd in 1927.
Bass, Ratcliff & Gretton Ltd, 137 High Street, Burton-Upon-Trent. It was founded in 1777 and registered in January 1880. Further merged with Bass, Mitchell’s & Butler, then Bass Charrington PLC, of 30 Portland Place, London, who were once the country’s largest brewer, and owned over 7 000 pubs.