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Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Walker's Brewery

The Peter Walker brewing company was founded in the nineteenth century and had breweries in Warrington and Burton.  Walker's pubs were a common sight in Liverpool, Southport and West Lancs.  In 1921 the company merged with the original Cains of Liverpool under the name Walker Cains, which in turn merged with Tetley in 1960 to form Tetley Walker.  My uncle ran a pub in Bootle and he always referred to the brewery as Walker Cains, even after it became Tetley Walker.  My grandmother used to be his relief manager on his day off.  I've still got a pair of pumpclips for Walker's Bitter and Mild that he gave to me in about 1963.

The Walker's beers were rebranded as Tetley’s and although the Walker’s recipe continued into the 1970s, without promotion, it was difficult to track it down; my friends and I much preferred Walker’s.  In the early 80s, the company revived the Walker’s brand, restyled selected pubs as Walker’s and created a new range of beers:  Mild, Bitter, Best Bitter, Warrington and Winter Warmer.  The last two were particularly good.  The Old Ship in Eastbank Street, Southport, was one of the new Walker's pubs, and we regulars waited every year for the arrival of the Winter Warmer.  After a few years, the company must have become bored with the enterprise and the Walker’s name was allowed to lapse permanently and the beers were discontinued.

In 1961 Tetley Walker became part of Allied Breweries, which was acquired by Carlsberg in 1992 (which meant the end of the Walker name), and the Warrington brewery was closed four years later.  Locally, the Cheshire Lines in King Street still displays the old Walker’s trade mark above its pub sign, as you can see in the picture.

10 comments:

  1. I don't know when anything resembling the old Walkers recipe was phased out, but in the 1980s it was widely thought that the Warrington-brewed Tetleys was inferior to the Leeds version (correctly, in my experience) and so not too many tears were shed when the brewery closed down. Of course, for a while Greenalls beers were brewed at Tetleys in Warrington, and were in the view of many better than they had been in the final years of Wilderspool.

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  2. The old Walker's recipe must have been phased out in the late 70s or early 80s. The new Walker's Bitter tasted quite different to me.

    I too thought the Leeds Tetley was better, but when the Warrington production was moved to Leeds, the merged Tetley bitter to me tasted worse than both previous brews.

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  3. I remember I drank in only walkers pubs, never in a tetley, sorry when they stopped brewing walkers and tried to sell tetleys bitter as walkers, it was so easy to tell, as tetleys was so much darker. 1966 price of bitter was 11p

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  4. 11p in 1966 would be £1-50 now, if normal inflation rates applied to beer.

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  5. The Missing Link6 March 2012 at 12:07

    Why don't you venture to The Lower Angel in Buttermarket Street Warrington, to try the Tipsy Angel Mild and Angels Folly, they are brewed from the original Walkers recipes. You will not be disappointed.

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  6. Thanks, Mising Link. I know the Lower Angel, and used to drink the original Walkers in there when I was a student at Padgate College. I've written about the Tipsy Angel brewery but haven't got there yet (my previous items on it are here), but hope to soon, especially after your recommendation.

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  7. Visit the Lower Angel in Warrington in the pubic bar you will see on the wall two price lists,one from 1961 the other from the late forties.These price lists were found by myself when I was a drayman at Walkers in the back yard at Gardeners Arms Valletts Lane Bolton.Prices for a pint of Walkers bitter was one and six ,in 1961,mild one and tuppance, Regular customer.

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  8. I'll look out for them next time I'm in there. 1/6 a pint (7.5p)! Who'd have thought we'd end up paying £3 a pint?

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  9. Just come across this. I was a director if both Tetley Walker and Peter Walker from 1988-92; I still have the business cards to prove it.
    I left when Allied split its pub and retail interests and sold the breweries (effectively) to Carlsberg. The Walker estate was still running and the beers still brewed at that time. I left the area and don't know exactly when brewing of the Walker brands ceased.
    The old brewery is now the site, for those who don't know, of Warrington Wolves RL ground and an enormous Tesco.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for that additional info, Malcolm, which fills in a couple of gaps in my knowledge. I remember the Warrington brewery from my student days in Warrington in the 70s.

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