Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Wrexham Lager Beer Co Papers

The papers of the Wrexham Lager Beer Company Limited date from its registration in 1881 until its final closure in 2000. It should be noted that as an archive, the papers are far from complete, which is probably due to its complex corporate history.

At first the company found it difficult to establish itself and was soon put into liquidation. In late 1886, under the directorship of Robert Ferdinand Graesser, the company was back trading. Despite his expertise, the production problems and poor sales continued. The company went into voluntary liquidation on 30 September 1892. By July 1900 a consortium headed by the same Robert F. Graesser had acquired the company assets and was back in business producing beer under the 'Ace of Clubs' brand. In 1949 Ind Coope and Allsopp acquired the company. A new brew house was commissioned in 1958 and the national brand of 'Skol' lager was introduced. In 1961 Ind Coope merged with Tetley Walker and Ansells, which in time became Allied Breweries. Following reorganization of Allied Breweries in 1978, the Wrexham Lager Beer Company was reconstituted as an independent subsidiary of Allied Breweries (UK) Ltd. and changed its name to Wrexham Lager Brewery Co. Ltd. in March 1988. In 1992, when Allied Breweries merged with the Danish Carlsberg group, the resulting company became Carlsberg-Tetley. They ran the Wrexham Lager brewery until it closed in 2000.

The majority of these papers relate to business and financial planning, promotional activity and corporate image from the 1970s-1980s. Administrative records include Memoranda and Articles of Association, registration of the company name, the acquisition, and liquidation of the company during the early years. Financial records are limited, but include an account book, 1893-1900, and accounts ledger, 1942-1951. There are a number of files of financial budget and forward planning with analysis of figures, 1980s-1990s. Particularly interesting is the complete series of Brewing books, (1958-1976), and details of specifications of the brewing process and the products, 1953-[1980s]. The Property and Estate papers include mortgages (1922-1954), tenancy agreements and sale of premises, the growth and development of the brewery site and plant, (1970s-1980s). There are also several series of photographs from 1970s-1980s. The archive includes notes and papers compiled 1959-1995, that relate to the history of brewing. The group of Wrexham Lager histories (1980s-1994) was brought together from various sources, (authors and dates often unknown) to produce material for the company’s centenary celebrations in 1982. Much of what was written cannot be substantiated from the original materials found within the collection. There is a large group of public relations material, including newspaper cuttings, photographs, and logos, along with papers relating to the changes in corporate identity. The production of the 'Skol' and later 'XXXX' brands that undoubtedly saved the brewery during the 1970s-1980s, but it is the return to the Wrexham Lager brand name (c.1980), with its aggressive marketing, and new corporate image that is best reflected amongst these papers. There are no papers relating to the demise and closure of the Wrexham brewery in 2000.

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