Reminiscing about beer with an old friend who used to be a drayman, we were reminded of the Simkiss Brewery in Brierley Hill. A quick look through our amazing magazine archive soon unearthed this fascinating look at the brewery which sadly closed in July 1985. Andrew Homer.
In a time of commercial mergers and takeovers, it is indeed surprising that a town the size of Brierley Hill has two independent breweries. Standing in Brettell Lane backed by the tall brewery buildings, and no more than a mile from Batham's Brewery, is the Foley Arms Inn. This house saw the beginning of J. P. Simpkiss & Son Ltd. When Joseph Paskin Simpkiss bought the inn over 50 years ago, it was even then a home-brewed house. In the early days, the beer was brewed in what is now the lounge and then run down into cellar for racking. When required the barrels were hauled from below on a rope.
Joseph Paskin Simpkiss
In 1926, the founder’s son, Dennis, joined his father in the business, having just completed a year's training at Ashton Gate Brewery, Bristol and now ready, at barely nineteen years of age, to take over the brewing. Five houses were owned by the brewery at this time. Joseph Simpkiss died in 1938 and Mr. Dennis Simpkiss took control of the company.