Wiveliscombe, a Somerset town on the edge of Exmoor, has been at the heart of West Country brewing for over two centuries. Formed in 1807, the famous Hancock’s brewery dominated both the town and the regional economy. Its vast array of buildings crests the hilltop, known as Golden Hill, and forms the skyline of the town which is visible for miles around.
At one time the Hancock’s employed half the town’s workforce, and owned the best of the towns 36 pubs! After the War, Hancock’s, as many other regional breweries, fell to the consolidation of the many by the few. Eventually, in 1959 the site was abandoned.
It remained so until 1980 when Exmoor Ales "Golden Hill Brewery" occupied a modest part of the Hancock site. Exmoor Ales gradually acquired more land and buildings and has grown, continuing something of the history of Wiveliscombe Brew Town. The next chapter occurred in 2016 when Exmoor Ales growth necessitated a move to a new facility just 200 yards down the road
Images courtesy of Mary Miles, author of "Hancock Brewery". They illustrate something of the historical memories of Somerset brewing on Golden Hill, in Wiveliscombe