ABOUT THE BREWERY
All Gates is a small pub and brewing group based in the North West. It was founded in 2006 by local licensee Ian Thorpe and businessman David Mayhall and its first pub was the multi award winning The Anvil in Dorning Street, Wigan.
All Gates re-established brewing in Wigan town centre after a near forty year absence, following the closure of Moorfield’s Brewery in nearby King Street in the early 1970’s. All Gates currently operate seven pubs and have a policy of stocking their own beers plus cask beers from other regional and micro breweries and in recent years have become firmly established in local and regional real beer drinking circles.
It all started in spring 2002 when Ian and David signed up for a course in micro brewing at St Helens College and which surprisingly they both managed to pass. Having completed the course the next obstacle was to find and locate suitable premises, which they did, close to Wigan Pier and for which planning was obtained but then the landlord reneged on the deal. In summer 2003 Ian found the present site, but it was only in September 2004 that a deal was finally done and the site purchased. Some eighteen months later after full renovation of the premises and installation of the brewing plant and new utility supplies, the kit was ready – and that’s really the journey really began.
We began to test brew in July 2006. By August 2006 we had begun brewing a couple of beers on a fairly regular basis and in September we brewed Brightblade for the first time – 1 month later it won the first ever Beer Festival we entered.
By early 2008 the brewery was nearing full capacity. Alongside our permanent beer range we were brewing three specials a month but were delivering all over the country. In late 2008 we therefore started to place greater emphasis on our own tied pubs, to which we had been adding and the delivery areas were reviewed.
Since late 2009 the brewery has been operating at full capacity and indeed since this time we have been brewing seven days a week. We are selling everything we brew, orders are now taken for sales well in advance and we only have limited availability for customers other than our own tied pubs; a good position to be in but one that is also of course creating its own problems. We think constantly therefore about moving and/or increasing capacity and this is still very much on the agenda, but needs careful thought and not to be rushed. We are sure it will happen, it is just a question of when and when the decision is made it needs to be the correct one.
Alongside the two Brewery Directors, there are seven people involved in the day to day operation and the business is on course to brew well over half million pints during 2012; on a five barrel plant!!
Beer is our National drink. At All Gates the quality of our products is key to our success and we want the widest possible opportunity for drinkers to enjoy them. However the tied house system which operates in the UK closes the door to many potential customers and at the start we had to travel far afield to sell our beer. However times have changed; more and more people are demanding local produce and we felt the need to consider the beer miles it takes to deliver our beer. As such we now work closely with other brewers and undertake swaps which reduce our transport costs.
We have looked closely and taken steps to reduce the amount of energy consumption in the brewery and we have always tried to conserve water by turning it into beer. We use only natural ingredients and use a process that has changed little in 200 years.
It is our view that as a business we are responsible for our future and it is one of our aims to continue to run a sustainable business; one that does more good than harm to our environment and our community. We will continue to endeavour to produce great beer and will strive to do so in an ecologically friendly way.
Principally through our own tied pubs but also through other breweries and through the SIBA Direct Delivery scheme we will try and increase availability in our local area so that we can reduce beer miles still further. We will continue to support our local economy where possible, offer employment to local people and support our local community in any way we can.
So every time you go into a pub ask for a local beer and hopefully and eventually the landlord will get the message.