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Border Breweries

Border Brewery Poster

Border Brewery Poster

Formed on the 27th June 1921 by the amalgamation of Island Green Brewery, F.W. Soames Brewery and Dorsett Owen breweries, Border Breweries traded throughout North Wales and the west Midlands using the advertising slogan ‘The Wine of Wales’. In 1984 Border Breweries was taken over by Marston’s Brewery of Burton-on-Trent and all brewing operations stopped in the town. In 1998 Marston’s was itself taken over by Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries. The brewery has a large bottling plant on Holt Road, which was demolished in May 2001 to make way for the Border Retail Park.


Developed as a major brewery following the purchase of the Nag’s Head public house by William Rowland in 1834. He and his son Thomas (Mayor of Wrexham), expanded the business before it was sold to Henry Aspinall for £46,300 in the 1870s. Aspinall went into partnership with William Overton,” a Wrexham wine merchant, to form the Wrexham Brewery Company in 1874 and won first prize for his beer in London the following year. He had ambitious plans to expand the brewery into the area below the Parish Church but met a great deal of local opposition and was declared bankrupt in 1879 with debts of £50,000. The business (which included six public houses) was then bought by Arthur Soames, a brewer from Newark, who appointed his son Frederick (later Mayor of Wrexham) as manager. In the years which followed, the brewery grew considerably and a new building was constructed between Tuttle Street and the Parish Church which was soon the largest brewery in Wrexham.


A new brewhouse (which incorporated an earlier 19th century building) was built on Mount Street, at the foot of the steps leading to the Parish Church, and opened in 1920. The top floor of this building was used as a malt store and the third floor was where the malt was screened (to remove the dust), lightly crushed. TI1e malt then passed to the second floor when: it was mixed with hot liquor to make a mash and then allowed to stand for about an hour when the ‘sweet wort’ was drawn off and pumped back up to the third floor where it was placed in a ‘copper’ (of which there were three). Sugar solution was then Died to the wort and the mixture boiled for up to two hours when the liquid was separated from the hops and cooled before being red in a fermenting vessel (of which there were 20) for three days. The beer was then pumped under Tuttle Street to the tank rooms at the rear of the Nag’s Head where it was stored at just above freezing point for several days before being filtered and sent out to the pubs. Beer for bottling was transported by tanker to the company’s bottling plant on Holt Road.


F.W. Soames became a private company in 1931 under the direction of Major Evelyn Soames and John Rankin but, two months later, 27 June 1931, it merged with Island Green Brewery* and Dorsett Owen of Oswestry to form Border Breweries.
In 1936, the company bought S. K. Williams of Colwyn Bay, manufacturers and retailers of soft drinks. This developed into an off-licensing business centred on the old island Green Brewery.

The Border Bottling Store on Holt Road (now the site of the Border Retail Park) was bought by the company in 1951, having originally been built as a clothing factory. Here the beer was stored, chilled, carbonated, filtered and sterilised before being bottled. Tn addition to its own beer, Border also bottled the products of other breweries, most notably Guinness, handling 7,200 bottles per hour. Next to the bottling plant stood’ a £250,000 soft drinks plant which was built in the 1960s to accommodate a plant which had previously been located on Salop Road.


Border Breweries was taken over by Marston’s Brewery in 1984.


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