Sunday 18 September 2016

Tetley’s acquisitions

Not all breweries took the same route to greatness. That’s one of the things I’m starting to realise. Tetley and Allied Breweries came into existence in quite a different way to Whitbread or Bass Charrington.

In the case of the latter two, they were the result of a large number of acquisitions and mergers. Bass Charrington started with Hammonds taking over multiple Northern breweries, then merging with Charrington which had also bought serval breweries and finally hooking up with Bass M & B. The story was similar at Whitbread, which made multiple purchases of brewers that were often the result of mergers themselves.

As you can see from the table, Tetley made a small number of large purchases. Before merging with first Walker Cain then with Ansells and Ind Coope to form Allied breweries. Because Allied was the result of the merger of a relatively small number of large breweries, they operated far fewer plants initially than other Big Six brewers: Leeds, Warrington, Birmingham, Burton-on-Trent, Alloa and Romford. That was it.

While Bass and Whitbread spent the 1960’s and 1970’s trying to rationalise their brewing operations, Allied didn’t need to close many breweries. And when they did close one, Ansells, it because of poor labour relations, not rationalisation.

Tetley acquisitions
Year Company Town tied houses
1897 Joshua Tetley Leeds 102
1954 Duncan Gilmour Sheffield 500
1959 William Whitaker Bradford
1960 Melbourne Leeds 345
1960 Walker Cain Warrington
The Brewing Industry: a Guide to Historical Records" edited by Leslie Richmond and Alison Turton, 1990, pages 231 and 326

When Tetley merged with Walker Cain, it owned 2,771 pubs.*

* “The Brewing Industry: a Guide to Historical Records" edited by Leslie Richmond and Alison Turton, 1990, page 326


John Lester said...

Just to add a bit more detail: when Tetley Walker merged with Ansells and Ind Coope in 1961 (the future Allied Breweries was known initially as Ind Coope, Tetley, Ansell, Ltd), the combined company was in fact operating twelve breweries rather than six. Ansells were still brewing at the Holt Brewery in Birmingham, as well as at their main brewery at Aston, and at the Cambrian brewery in Newport, Monmouthshire (formerly Lloyds (Newport)); Ind Coope were still brewing at Watford (Benskins); Westerham (formerly Bushell, Watkins and Smith) and Wrexham, as well as at Alloa, Burton, and Romford; and Tetley Walker were still brewing at the Melbourne Brewery, as well as at Warrington and the main brewery in Leeds. Most of these smaller breweries were closed in the next few years (with the exception of Watford, Wrexham and the Holt Brewery), but Allied did take over a number of other breweries in the sixties: Friary Meux, with breweries in London and Guildford; Hemingways, with a brewery in Leeds; Ramsdens, with a brewery in Halifax; and Roses, with a brewery in Malton. (Alled also acquired Blatch’s Theale Brewery in 1965, though I believe the brewery had been closed before the takeover.) Some of these acquisitions brewed for a few more years, but had all been closed by the end of the sixties.

Ron Pattinson said...

John Lester,

thanks for correcting me. I was looking from a 1970's perspective. How could I have forgotten Wrexham and Hemmingways? I used to drink in a pub that still had Hemmingways windows.

I really need to research this properly and rewrite it.

Unknown said...

hi John, I've been doing some looking into the history of my house, and it turns out around 1890 it was the home of JW Hemingway. As a keen homebrewer, this piqued my interest and I've been trying to ascertain what I can about them, with the ambition of digging out a recipe of theirs from the time.
Have you anything in the way of details on Hemingways or any places you could point me to?

Many thanks Stewart

John Lester said...

Stewart: I don’t know a great deal about Hemingway’s, I’m afraid (sadly, they closed before I started drinking beer). There is some basic information about the brewery in Richmond and Turton’s “The Brewing Industry: a guide to historical records” (though in my experience this book is not always reliable): I am not sure where the records listed there are now located. The main facts are that the brewery (in York Road, Leeds) was founded in 1866 by John Hemingway and was taken over by Tetley Walker in 1967 (October, I believe) and closed; at that time, the company owned five pubs (according to most sources, though I have seen four and six suggested as well) and one off-licence (but Lackey’s history of Tetley’s (“Quality Pays”) says Hemingway’s had a number of off-licences)). If you look at, you will see that John William Hemingway died on 31 March 1900 at Stoneyhurst, Roundhay, Leeds – perhaps your house? You may also like to look at, where a number of Hemingway’s beer labels are illustrated. Finally, it might be worth an enquiry to the Brewery History Society ( Hope this is helpful.

Unknown said...

Thank you very much for the response, I'll have a look through all of that and see where I can go