Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Hammonds acquisitions

It’s map time again. Plus a table, you lucky devils. Another look at a takeover run.

While I was researching this one, a point became very clear about Hammonds expansion.  I noticed when I looked up breweries they bought in “A Century of British Breweries plus” that the first ones were all on the same couple of pages. The West Yorkshire pages.

Once again, there’s a clear pattern to the purchases. Hammond started off with breweries close to their Bradford base. As time progressed they moved further afield to neighbouring parts of Yorkshire and just over the Pennines into Lancashire. In the 1950’s they moved into Cumbria, the Northeast and Scotland.

But they remained a northern brewery. The furthest South they got was South Yorkshire. Things came to a halt in 1960 when Hammonds became part of a larger group, Northern Breweries, which was formed by a merger of Hammonds with Hope & Anchor of Sheffield and John Jeffrey of Edinburgh. Hope & Anchor being run by Canadian Eddie Taylor. At the time of the merger Hammonds had 1,200 pubs and Hope & Anchor 260*.

The name was quickly changed to United Breweries but not for long. In 1962 they merged with Charrington to become Charrington United Breweries. It made a lot of sense. United Breweries was strong in the North and Scotland, while Charrington was concentrated in the South. That wasn’t quite the endgame. In 1967 the group merged with Bass, Mitchell & Butlers who, with their concentration of pubs in the Midlands gave the new company, Bass Charrington, truly national coverage.

With the new company the Hammonds name, and those of the Yorkshire companies had purchase, disappeared. It’s ironic that the company at the core of the formation of Britain’s largest brewing group should be erased from history this way.

Black: original brewery
Green: <= 1930
Red: 1930 – 1939
Blue: 1940 – 1949
Orange:  > 1950

* Brewery History Journal, number 77, Autumn 1994, Page 13.


Tyson said...

Interesting, I didn't realise that they made it quite this North. Littleborough and no further. Which always begs the question: why? Perhaps it was the large concentration of family brewers that dominated what would become Greater Manchester?

Ron Pattinson said...


well they did sort of go further. Hammonds merged to become part of United Breweries. Which did make further acquisitions in the Northwest: Cornbrook and Catterall & Swarbrick.

Tyson said...

Yes but I was thinking more of my area: Bury, Rochdale and up the East Lancs Road. Heavily dominated, particularly in those days, primarily by Thwaites and then the Manchester family brewers. Put that together with the likes of Whitbread and there's little room to build up a cluster of tied estate pubs. Obviously it's only speculation but many years ago I asked Robinsons as to why they hadn't expanded that way and that was the reason I was given.

Phil said...

Overheard in the 70s...

"I did something stupid the other day - I was in the pub and I ordered a pint of Chass Barrington!"

"Lucky you didn't do that at the golf club - they serve Whitbread Tankard."

I must have been toting that memory around for 40 years.