THE HISTORY OF ALLGATES
All Gates brewery first started brewing cask ales in August 2006. It is located in Brewery Yard, an old ginnel, next to the Last Orders pub, off Wallgate in Wigan town centre.
The building is about 180-190 years old and was the original brew house for the Dog and Partridge pub, which later changed its name to The Last Orders. Beer would originally have been brewed here and the barrels rolled into the pub using a connecting tunnel from our cellar to the cellars at the pub.
The brewery had been closed for years and the building was then used for several other business ventures including a sewing factory and for electrical motor renovations.
After the last business closed the building was left abandoned and was left to degenerate into a state of disrepair becoming almost derelict.
The All Gates directors decided that the building was ideal to turn back into a brewery, so purchased the property and then set about lovingly restoring the Grade 2 Listed building back to its former glory. The renovations took some eighteen months to complete with the installation of the brewing plant taking a further six months. We were finally ready to brew!!!
Our first brews were Young Pretender, Napoleons Retreat and Bright Blade, and were brewed for our flagship pub, The Anvil on Dorning St, Wigan. The beers were very well received and since then the brewery has gone from strength to strength and now produces seven permanent ales, a seasonal brew and a monthly special brew.
We now supply to free trade outlets in the North West and our beers feature at numerous beer festivals across the UK, and we have received several Champion Beer Awards; for Young Pretender and Mild at Heart, for Bright Blade at the Warrington Oktoberfest and for California and Pretoria.
WHY THE NAME ALLGATES?
Well, what do you call a brewery in Wigan? We wanted something linked to the history of Wigan- and one aspect of Wigan's history is still in evidence all around the town, and links it to the surrounding areas.
The suffix 'gata' derives from the Old Norse, meaning a road. Three roads linked Roman Wigan (Coccium) with other settlements. So Standishgate was the road to Standish!. The road that led to Manchester is now known as Millgate- because it passed the rector's watermill on the River Douglas. Wallgate linked Wigan to Wilderspool, the name referring to the town well, situated in front of the present Post Office - and within about 50 meters of AllGates Brewery! (and no - we haven't found the well yet!).
Other 'Gates' include Hallgate (linking the Parish Church with Wigan Hall) and Stairgate which it is assumed linked Millgate to the now diverted River Douglas via a series of steps!. Mesnesgate became Hope Street, and Turfgate now consists solely of the footbridge over the railway near Wigan North-Western station. Bishopsgate, Churchgate and Marketgate are relatively more recent additions to the 'Gates of Wigan'
What's all this got to do with a brewery? Well the Gates of Wigan link the town centre to its surrounding areas. We hope that AllGates Brewery will similarly link the town centre of Wigan with its surroundings, as our fine ales find their way into local pubs, and that AllGates Brewery will become part of Wigan's history - just as the gates of Wigan have!! - Convincing or what?
The Gates of Wigan have a long and detailed history, but also feature in Mike Harding's poem -
'Napolean's Retreat from Wigan'
So they traipsed through t' slush round slag heaps,
And up by t' canal and by t' pier
Till they come to a door-mat in t' snow sayin' "BOG OFF"
And Boney said "Ey up lads we're there!!"
But the gates of Wigan were bolted tight,
Said Boney, "Ooo what a pest"
And he had another chew of his fingernails,
And stuck his hand up his vest.
There he stood at the gates of Wigan,
Frozen tears ran in lumps down his chin
And he kicked on t' front door with his wellies in temper,
And shouted "Come on then lerrus in!!!"
But there on the front door of Wigan,
A notice he read wi' a groan
"WE HEARD AS 'OW YOU WERE COMIN',
SO WE FLITTED, THERE'S NO ONE AT 'OME."
Boney he were right blazin',
But Wigan were blazin' also
'Cos Lord Mayor 'ad left chip pan on t' gas ring,
And Wigan were all aglow.
With thanks to Mike Harding for his permission to include this extract from his poem, the full version of which can be viewed here.