H1780 - part brewery, part distillery - opens to public in Baltic

A HOMAGE to Higsons with a hipster twist has opened in the Baltic Triangle.

According to its owners, H1780 Tap & Still is a “unique” concept in the United Kingdom, making beer, gin and more under one roof.

Set in a completely transformed warehouse in Bridgewater Street - NOT to be confused with in the one-time Higsons brewery, up the road in Stanhope Street - H1780 comprises a brewery, distillery, kitchen, three bars and a retail outlet.  

Behind this knackering hive of food and drink activity is Scottish former cricketer Stephen Crawley who last year bought the Liverpool Craft Brewery, makers of Love Lane pale ales.

He says: “H1780 Tap & Still is a place where great drinks are made and flow to the wider world, and a destination where people can eat and drink beside a working brewery. The distillery is right next to the bar, so our guests will be intimately involved in the making of our beers and gins, and can also enjoy great food cooked from fresh and sourced wherever possible from local producers.”

Chef James Dodds has returned to his north west roots after years down south. Expect snacks, toasts and main meals “I want people to eat here and let the food persuade them to come back again and again,” says Dodds.

The Tap & Still will use the Higsons name on its three signature beers as well as the venue itself. 

The H of H1780 is for Higsons. 1780 is the year Higsons was first brewed in premises on Dale Street, although it is more commonly associated with the big redbrick site that later became Cains. 

The beers will be back in name only though. If you're after the original Higson's recipe, seek out a pint of Pier Head in pubs around the city. Produced by the Liverpool Organic brewery, it was developed with the former Higsons chief brewery chemist.

Higson’s ales and scores of branded pubs were part of life in Liverpool for 200 years. The ales ceased production in 1990, having been acquired by Boddingtons which, in turn, was acquired by Whitbread. "Boddies" was preserved, so to speak, while "Higgies" was thrown under a bus.

Crawley says: "There are three new brews for a new age, and we hope they’ll win lots of friends and put the Higsons name back where it belongs.” 

For those who want to go straight to the hard liquor, H1780 has also created a gin brand called Ginsmiths of Liverpool. 

Distiller Ben Murphy says: “All the gins I make start with juniper, coriander seed and angelica root. They’re the holy trinity of gin. Then I add others, and in the case of Ginsmiths of Liverpool that means botanicals that are somehow connected to the city - like sea holly, which I harvest on Crosby beach.”