19 November 2013

Springfield Brewery, Wolverhampton

In about 1840, William Butler, a grocer by trade, started selling home-brewed beer to his fellow workers at Wolverhampton's Shrubbery Iron Works, where he was a shingler. Two years later, Butler left his job and became a full-time grocer and brewer. By 1848 he had built the Priestfield Brewery in the city.

The wells here began to run dry as demand increased, so Butler moved production to Springfield, which had a good water supply and was hard by both the canal and the railway, making for convenient transport of his beers. The Springfield Brewery was fully operational by 1874, and included maltings, a cooperage and stables.

The Great Western Railway ran a siding into the site, which expanded as did business. A new brewing tower was brought on stream in 1883. William died in 1893, when his son, also William Butler, pursued an aggressive strategy of acquiring rival breweries so as to increase Butler's number of tied houses. Both Bloxwich Brewery and Cannock Brewery were acquired in 1925, and Eley's in 1928.

This expansion continued into the 1950s, making Butler's one of the Midlands' largest brewers. It was itself incorporated into Mitchell's and Butler's in 1960, which in turn was taken over by Bass just a year later. Brewing ceased at the site in 1991, and the buildings were gutted by fire in 2004.

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