When the former Grand Metropolitan brewer, Roger Catte, was asked to set up a small brewery in 1981, he did not realise that he would subsequently be presiding over the entire operation. The brewery was to be at the Bowerhill, Melksham premises of leading regional drinks wholesaler, Cascade Drinks and the first beers were being produced in 1982.
When these first beers were produced from Roger’s brewing plant in 1982, he had decided to resurrect a former nickname in order to christen the brewery as “Moles”. Over the following years the initial beer range has been reviewed and refined. As well as top selling session bitters such as Tap and Best it also features the powerful 5% Mole Catcher, Gold winner in the strong bitter category at the Great British Beer Festival 2011. In addition there are seasonal ales produced throughout the year and beers to commemorate events such as St. George’s Day and St. Patrick’s Day. One such ale that was first brewed for the Rugby World Cup has now become a permanent fixture in Moles portfolio ~ “Rucking Mole”.
Roger and his wife Laura took over the whole of the business in the mid 1980’s and the brewing team at Moles has been steadily earning a reputation for producing quality cask ales. Serving to boost the company’s profile even further has been the phenomenal success of Black Rat, a premium, quality cider made from English grown apples available in bottle and draught form.
Cascade Drinks has considerably expanded its presence throughout the South West of England, and now able to supply a large range of beers, ciders, minerals, wines and spirits, while a small but expanding estate of public houses is helping to spread the company’s reputation throughout the region.
Roger’s first task was to source some brewing equipment, and he returned to London to commission a custom-built 10 barrel plant which was installed in the same brewhouse at Bowerhill Melksham which is used today. At the same time the new business was christened Moles Brewery, inspired by Roger’s nickname.
A key brand launch that was to provide a profitable boost to the operation came in 1995, with the birth of Black Rat cider. First available as a keg product, subsequently bottled and then made available in traditional ‘scrumpy’ form, the brand has gone on to become firmly established in the free trade throughout the South West of England, and even further afield.To celebrate 25 years since the founding of Moles Brewery, the company introduced a special celebration beer – Moleten Silver – a golden-coloured 4.6%abv premium bitter. There was also a mini-real ale beer festival at the Rising Sun, with beers from Burton Bridge, B&T, Pilgrim, Phoenix, Big Lamp, HB Clark and RCH. All companies which were established at the same time as Moles, and which, like the Wiltshire brewer, have proved that quality will always stand the test of time.