Davenports has gained many headlines recently for their multi-award-winning pubs, but at the heart of the brand is their centuries-old brewing business, the very foundation of the Davenports history, some might say ‘the beating heart of it’.
Adding to their portfolio of great ales is core to their business, as is launching products into new and growing sectors, their latest ale – ‘Drum Bitter’ plays right into that strategy and as the tag line say’s… “it’s a bitter that can’t be beat…”
A craft ale standing at 3.6% ABV, it is a classic session keg bitter with great ‘quaffability’. Paran Sandhu, Head Brewer at Davenports explains; “It is an important lower strength keg ale for session drinking, the craft keg ale is a fast-growing sector dominated by large UK brewing brands, so it’s great to add personality and something locally brewed with a strong authentic backstory to that sector! Give the consumer more choice.”
Brewed in Birmingham using a mix of British, European and World hops and quality British Malts it is golden in colour and serves up a thick creamy head with a light floral hop finish. Paran explains; “You’ll taste gentle floral notes, with hints of oat and wheat, very, very drinkable.”
When it comes to identities for their ever-expanding portfolio of products, Davenports, which was established in 1829, has plenty of heritage to draw from. The iconic Drum Bitter badge has been given just a light modern touch to ensure its appealing for today’s market.
Cen Hayward, Sales Director adds; “As heritage brands go, Davenports takes some beating. The company is built on strong foundations and that helps to propel their strategy of expanding, elevating, and reaching new customers. The company has already added new pubs to the portfolio this year, and this new bitter is the first of several new ales you can expect. I’m excited by Drum Bitter and its potential across our own pubs, and indeed other pub chains. It is a year of growth for the company – sustained growth.”
The first Davenports pub to receive Drum Bitter will be The Queens Head pub on Steelhouse Lane, their flagship Birmingham pub where it will be available from Thursday 23rd February 2023, followed by The Port House on Bridge Street, Stourport on Severn on Friday 24th February 2023.
Davenports Brewery Interesting Facts
Davenports was established in 1829.
1902: A new branch of the business started – manufacturing, bottling and delivering Davenports non-deposit ale and stout.
1904: Davenports C.B Ltd, registered to supply ‘pure bottled ale and stout at the cheapest possible price’. Quickly reaching delivery to 15,000 homes.
Famous Legal Battle: In 1905 Davenports was accused of ‘Beer Hawking’, selling beer by retail at a place where they were not authorised (beer at home), It was viewed as a hugely important prosecution, fought brilliantly, and won by the very theatrical barrister, Mr Marshall-Hall K.C, on behalf of Davenports in the Victoria Law Courts. Marshall-Hall was later knighted. Davenports had paved the way for other brewers to follow a similar scheme.
The Co-operative beer bottle…A Double Inducement: Within a month of the dismissal of the beer hawking accusation, C.B Ltd launched its prospectus to potential shareholders in the company, which already had proven ‘progressive, substantial, and satisfactory’. Half of the shares were Ordinary and were divided equally between the three directors and John Davenport and Sons brewery, and half were advertised as customers’ shares. Those who bought them had to commit to buying ten shillings’ worth of bottled ale (CB) or Stour (CS) over a six-month period; if they didn’t do this, they had to sell their shares at the paid-up value. Holders of these shares were entitled to a 5% cumulative preference dividend and half of the surplus profits of the company in proportion to what they had spent in the year after 5% had been paid to the Ordinary shareholders. The FT wryly dubbed the scheme ‘A Co-operative Beer Bottle’, more seriously and optimistically, Davenports advertised it as ‘devised to give EVERY shareholder a double inducement to further the interests of the Company’.
Early pioneers in advertising. By 1910, it was obvious that much thought was put into making advertisements lively, pertinent, and appealing. With Davenports seen in national press.
1922 Motorised lorries expanded delivery capability.
Technology: in 1930, The Birmingham Daily Gazette stressed that few of Davenports’ rivals could claim to be as modern in equipment as Davenports which boasted ‘The very latest appliances that science and mechanics have evolved’. In total, three batteries of machines with ten machines in each turned out 120,000 bottles of beer every day!
Continued Investment: More investment in the bottling plant meant that a few years later, Davenports were capable of 24,000 bottles per hour!
Pioneers of Recycling: In the 1930’s, Davenports championed recycling bottles that were returned by customers. Scrupulously cleaned and chilled for reuse in two automatic bottle washing machines at the rate of 12,000 per hour.
1937: More than 250,000 regular customers.
Famous Slogan: In 1939, the ‘Beer At Home Means Davenports’ slogan was first introduced.
That Jingle: Davenports gained much publicity from an advert that featured marketing director Carl Daniels and a catchy ditty:
Beer at Home means Davenports,
That’s the beer, lots of cheer.
The finest hops with malt and yeast
Turns a snack into a feast.
Straight from brewery to your home,
Why collect, we’ll deliver.
Soon you’ll know why folks all say,
Beer at Home, means Davenports.
Costing little to make, it was credited with boosting sales to such an extent that in 1973 Davenports’ profits reached just under £1million compared to £86,000 in 1961.
2021: Despite the terrible impact of the pandemic on the industry, Davenports managed to acquire new pubs and venues, refurbish existing pubs whilst also launching ‘Beer At Home’.
Making A Difference:
Reducing box size and lessening void fills all adds to reducing lorries on roads each year.
2022: The Queens Head opened its doors on Steelhouse Lane Birmingham
2022: The Coach House wins Best Pub or Bar in Coventry & Warwickshire 2022 at the Foodie Awards.
2022: The Coach House wins Best Pub, Bar or Restaurant at The Stratford Herald Business & Tourism Awards.
2022: Davenports returns the brand to Kidderminster with the opening of The Post House, formerly the site of The Red Man pub.
2023: January, Davenports add the award-winning Littleton Arms in Penkridge to their portfolio.
2023: February, Davenports launches Drum Bitter, 3.6% ABV.
Press release from Davenports.
Contact: Katie McPhilimey.