The owners of the historic Davenports beer brand are to open new beer and cocktail bars in Birmingham under another historic name, Dares.
Empire Star is to create its first new Dares bar in the old police station, the Big Peg, in Vyse Street in the Jewellery Quarter in Hockley, with more planned around the city including a second in Moseley.
With the first Dares due to open in March, it will specialise in craft beer, cocktails and coffee, with a casual open grill-style street food offering in a “boutique” atmosphere.
The original Dares brewery in Balsall Heath, Birmingham, dated back to 1927 and was acquired by Midlands brewer Davenports in 1962. Davenports, which was founded in 1829, ceased production in 1986 and, after changing hands, its beer brands are now owned by Empire Star.
It has launched several “revival” Davenports cask beers into the freetrade with great success such as Davenports Original and Pale alongside another historic Birmingham brewery brand that it acquired, Highgate Mild and Old Ale.
The new Dares bar in Vyse Street will be one of the first in Birmingham to offer brewery-fresh tank beer, transported just five miles from Empire Star’s brewery in Smethwick and dispensed from large 500-litre tanks hung from the ceiling.
It is part of a £10m investment earmarked for redevelopment of the whole business, allowing the company to acquire new sites for Dares and Davenports pubs, to invest in its current pub estate such as the City Tavern, expand its brewery and develop other sites such as Highgate Brewery in Walsall.
Marketing and brand director Simon Key said: “We are excited with the opportunity to bring back these historic brands to Birmingham. The new venues will reflect our heritage, be quirky, unique, comfortable and fun.
“You will be able to get great beer of all styles from all over the world, a cocktail or a coffee.
“We have several planned openings in the city. All fit the similar demographical nature of Hockley as urban villages where people live work and play.”
The first two bars received £100,000 match funding from The Birmingham Post Growth Fund, which is part of the government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) as it will create over 20 new jobs in the city.