Sunday, 17 September 2023

The Big Six (part two)

Today we're going to look at a couple of the Big Six members. Specifically Allied Breweries and Bass Charrington.

Allied Breweries
Unlike the other large brewing groups, which had mostly coalesced around one large brewery, Allied was more like a merger of equals. Those parties being Tetley Walker, Ind Coope and Ansells. And, to some extent, they kept their regional identity. Other than Double Diamond and Skol, they didn’t really have national draught brands.

In Yorkshire, Tetley was much better than most of the Big Six. They didn’t mess their pubs around and were happy for most of them to sell cask beer. It’s a brewery I had a lot of affection for. Obviously, it’s now closed.

The Ansells brewery in Birmingham was the scene of much industrial unrest. Which led to its closure, with the Ansells beers being moved to other breweries in the group.

Bass Charrington

Who knows what Bass Charrington could have achieved, if they hadn’t been led by a lunatic with no knowledge of the brewing industry. Despite his best efforts, the company became the biggest in the UK and one of the largest in the world. In the hands of someone more competent, they could only have been more successful.

The chairman’s insane plan was to have just two breweries, Cape Hill in Birmingham and the new brewery in Runcorn serving the whole of the UK. Which led them to closing most of their breweries. Though, when they discovered Runcorn couldn’t brew acceptable versions of some of their Northern brands, breweries such as Stones in Sheffield and the Tower Brewery in Tadcaster were reprieved.

They were one of the worst in terms of pub vandalism. When there was a pub swap in the 1980s, they took over the Little Park from Tetley. It was a Leeds little lovely pub, with two distinct rooms. Bass almost immediately fucked it up, knocking it through into a single room. Totally ruining the atmosphere.


Anonymous said...

The way Charrington was run was a foreshadowing of the malaise that was to come in British industries.
The fact they had someone who had no experience in the industry sounds exactly like British Leyland.

bigLurch Habercom said...

And now we have big american owned factories that basically produce the biggest load of synthetic fizzy piss going around. I can imagine the first day of Molson Coors ownership here in Burton. "What, you mean the pub manager has to leave the barrels for a few days to allow the beer to settle and they actually have to look after that. We cant have that. Get rid of that now.

Anonymous said...

I believe Cask Bass still exists and until recently Worthington White Shield.

bigLurch Habercom said...

Yes, Bass is brewed by Marstons but for how long and certainly not in the numbers it used to be. White Shield has stopped being brewed as a) Steve Wellington has retired again and b) the Museam of Brewing has been closed by Molson Coors as they want it for office space. The irony is that the local council allowed the latter and now there taking about wanting a museam of brewing. !!!!!!!!!!