In 1876, Charles Wells bought his first brewery on the banks of the River Ouse in Bedford. But today, Charles Wells is the UK’s largest private brewing company, with a substantial pub chain across the UK and France and a rapidly growing export business with sales growing over 20% a year. On 18th May 2017 Charles Wells Ltd agreed terms to sell its brewery and brand sales interests to Marston’s PLC for a cash consideration of £55 million, plus working capital adjustments.
Immortalised in the name of one of their famous ales, 1845 is a year that will forever be Fuller’s. It was then that the partnership papers of Fuller, Smith & Turner were officially signed, marking the start of something very special for London’s brewery scene. However, the Fuller’s story had been brewing long before then. Beer has been made in the Chiswick area of the capital for more than 350 years, dating back to the era of Oliver Cromwell.
In 1777, Charles Hall, a Dorset farmer, founded a brewery in the Dorset village of Ansty to provide beer to General Clinton’s troops who were stationed on the south coast before being shipped to America to fight the pesky Colonialists. Today it is owned and run by the seventh generation of the Woodhouse family, with Mark Woodhouse and Anthony Woodhouse as the current stewards, proud to be a leading independent regional brewer with an established pub estate of beautiful pubs in great locations across the South of England.
Hook Norton is one of only 32 family owned breweries and is the finest example of a Victorian Tower Brewery in the country. Of course, the brewery is about so much more than just its fantastic range of award winning beers. They welcome over 25,000 visitors a year to their Visitor Centre and 37 of their pubs are at the heart of many of local communities, serving great drink and food to the region. Throughout the brewery’s history the thread of family involvement has been continuous to the present day.
Thomas Hardy is a unique, private, service company dedicated to brewing and packaging customers’ own premium brands under confidential contracts. They have long term plans to invest in quality plant and qualified people to service customers’ needs and offer a complete service of brewing, blending, packaging & warehousing.
In 1794, Dorset rope and net makers – the Gundry family – built the Old Brewery on the banks of the River Brit in Bridport. Since then, there’s been non-stop brewing on this site. Generations of Palmers have kept the brews bubbling. In the late 19th century, two Palmers brothers – John Cleeves and Robert Henry – bought the brewery and gave it their names: JC & RH Palmer. Today, their great grandsons, John and Cleeves Palmer, work in the company. As Palmers Brewery, it remains among the best of small independent brewers.
In 2002 Coor’s aquired the England and Wales based business of Bass Brewers and created Coors Brewers Ltd., the UK’s second largest brewer. As a result of this acquisition it acquired the then named Bass Museum, changing its name in 2003 to the Coors Visitor Centre. Over the ensuing period the company has continued to expand via acquisition to the point where it is now the third largest global brewer.
Marstons have been running pubs and brewing beer in one form or another for over 180 years and now employ over 13,000 people as a thriving FTSE 250 listed company. They are now one of the country’s top pub businesses and the leading brewer of premium cask and bottled beers operating five breweries producing over 60 of the country’s best loved ales at sites in: Burton on Trent (Marston’s), Oxfordshire (Wychwood & Brakspear), Cumbria (Jennings), Hampshire (Ringwood) and the West Midlands (Banks’s).
Shepherd Neame has been making beer in Faversham, Kent, for more than 500 years. It uses traditional methods and 100% natural ingredients. The brewery uses chalk filtered mineral water from the brewery’s own artesian well, deep below the brewery and 93% of the hops used in its beers are grown in Kent. Centuries of brewing experience have been passed down to the current team of brewers, who still use many traditional methods, including handcrafting beer in the UK’s last remaining unlined solid oak mash tuns.
Timothy Taylor’s is a family-owned regional brewery founded in 1858 by Timothy Taylor. Originally based in Cook Lane, Keighley, West Yorkshire, England Timothy Taylor’s moved to larger premises in 1863 at Knowle Spring in Keighley, where they remain. The Knowle Spring brewery sits on a natural artesian well, which provides a constant supply of pure Pennine spring water, unique to Taylor’s, that has been filtered through layers of limestone and black rock. Knowle Spring water is naturally soft and very pure. Perfect for brewing.
Thornbridge branded beers were first brewed in early 2005 after the establishment of a 10 barrel brewery in the grounds of Thornbridge Hall. The initial focus was on a range of cask beers that used traditional recipes but provided a modern twist through the use of a wide range of hops, malts and the innovation and passion of the brewing team. After winning a succession of awards (now over 350 national and international awards) a new, state of the art, brewery and bottling line was opened at Bakewell in September 2009 to meet with demand and increase their range of beers.
Founded in 1849 as an independent family business, Everards beers can now be enjoyed in more than 175 pubs across the East Midlands. Now based at Optimus Point in Glenfield, the new home of their logistics centre and the temporary home of their whole team while they plan the Everards Meadows Development. In 2017 the business was rewarded the ‘”Publican Pub Company of the Year” award for the 4th time and in 2019 they will celebrate their 170th Anniversary.
Anyone visiting Arkell’s Brewery for the first time could be excused for thinking they have walked straight into a time machine. The beer is still brewed in much the same way as it was when John Arkell first made it in 1843 and the brewery buildings seem untouched by the passing years. If you speak to any of the staff about the company it is clear that everyone is still as fiercely proud of its local and family roots as John Arkell was himself and the company has remained true to the principles of loyalty, quality and tradition set down by its founder 175 years ago.