Monday 14 January 2019

Brewery ownership of pubs 1974 - 2017

Some more lovely tables today. One taken from the BBPA Statistical Handbook 2018 which arrived recently the other is somewhat older.

Let's kick off with older of the two tables, wjhich shows the state of play back in the mid-1970s, when the Big Six was a boout at its peak.

Between them the Big Six owned getting on for 40,000 on licences. Now I'm not sure if that's only pubs. I suspect not. I have a feeling, given the size of the total, that there are other non-pub on licences included.

The Big Six weren't all roughly equal. Bass Charrington was significantly bigger than anyone else. They owned more pubs and their share of beer sales was larger. They had almost double the mnarket share of the two smallest, Watney and Scottish & Newcastle. The latter owned fewer pubs than the others because much of the trade in Scotland was nominally free. Though, in practice, most pubs North of the border were tied through loans.

Significantly, the Big Six between them owned almost three times as many pubs as all the other breweries combined. It should really be the Big Seven, but CAMRA generally left them out as they didn't have a tied estate. They had a diifferent model to all the other breweries, providing bottled Guinness for other breweries' pubs.

Pub ownership 1974 - 1976
Bewery Uk Breweries % beer sales On Licences (1974) % On Licences
Bass Charrington 12 20 9,256 8.15%
Allied Breweries 7 17 7,665 6.75%
Whitbread 19 13 7,865 6.92%
Watney/Grand Met 8 12 5,946 5.23%
Scottish & Newcastle 3 11 1,678 1.48%
Courage 8 9 5,921 5.21%
Guinness 1 9 0 0
Total Big Seven 58 91 38,331 33.7%
Others 89 9 13,800 12.1%
Tied Trade 52,131 45.9%
Free Trade 61,498 54.1%
Total 147 100 113,629
“The Brewing Industry, a Guide to Historical Records” by Lesley Richmond & Alison Turton.
No. breweries and % beer sales 1976
No. on licences 1974

The situation today looks very different, with most of the large brewing groups owning no pubs. The exception being Heineken. Though two-thirds of the tied houses belong to just three breweries: Mastons, Greene King and Heineken. The latter two have estates approaching those of the BIG Six in size.

Brewery-owned pubs in 2017
Brewery No. pubs
Adnams & Co PLC 49
Anheuser Busch Inbev UK 0
Arkell's Brewery Ltd 96
Asahi UK 4
George Bateman & Son Ltd 48
Daniel Batham & Son Ltd 11
S. A. Brain & Co Ltd 203
Brewdog 34
C & C Group PLC 0
Camerons Brewery Ltd. 58
Carlsberg UK Ltd. 0
Donnington Brewery 17
Elgood & Sons Ltd 28
Everards Brewery Ltd 172
Felinfoel Brewery Co Ltd. 73
Fuller. Smith & Turner PLC 373
Greene King PLC 3,048
Hall & Woodhouse Ltd 188
Harvey & Sons (Lewes) Ltd. 48
Heineken UK 2,836
Holden's Brewery 21
Joseph Holt Ltd. 128
Hook Noiton Brewery Co. Ltd. 36
Hydes Brewery Ltd. 53
J W Lees & Co. (Brewers) Ltd 141
Liberation Group (Butcombe) 69
Marston's PLC 1,421
McMullen & Sons Ltd. 125
Molson Coors (UK) Brewers 0
J.C. & R.H. Palmer Ltd 54
Frederlc Robinson Ltd 261
St Austell Brewery Co. Ltd 176
Shepherd Neame Ltd. 314
Samuel Smith Old Brewery 300
Timothy Taylor & Co.Ltd. 20
T & R Theakston Ltd 0
Daniel Thwaites PLC 248
Wadworth & Co Ltd. 224
Charless Wells 186
Total      11,063
BBPS Statistical Handbook 2018, pages 70 - 71.

Bass Charrington once owned almost as many pubs as the total number of brewery-owned pubs today.


Alan Scott said...

Ron, As a man who likes numbers would you consider extending your 2017 table? I'd be interested in adding for each brewery volume on trade in own pubs, volume on trade in others pubs and volume off trade. Not sure this data is available but would be an interesting take on the various business models brewers are using today.I would suspect Charles Wells would be about 90% on trade in own pubs while Brewdog would be about 90% off trade.

Anonymous said...

Please excuse the ignorance, but why was Guinness able to sell so much beer while breaking with the standard model of selling through pubs? Did anyone else manage to break wih the pub sale model on a large scale?

Ron Pattinson said...


partly because Guinness allowed the other brewery to do the bottling and so get some of the profit. Also because Guinness got in early before the tied house system was fully in operation and had established their beer as a must have in pubs. And Guinness Extra Stout didn't usually directly compete with a major brand of the brewery that owned the pub.

Bass and Worthington Pale Ale was also commonly available in other brewery's pubs, for much the same reasons as Guinness.

Guinness were worried in the 1980s that the Big Six might screw them over. Especially when they started flirting with other Irish Stout producers like Murphy. Which is why they grassed them up to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, prompting the investigation into the tied house system that ended up with the Beer Orders.

Ron Pattinson said...

Alan Scott,

that information isn't available.

Barm said...

I am sure you are right about the non-pub licences. In the 1970s all the big brewers were keen to get into the hotel trade. S&N had quite a few IIRC and of course Grand Metropolitan originated as a hotels business.