Watney Combe & Reid
|Predecessors||The Stag Brewery|
|Headquarters||London, United Kingdom|
Watney Combe & Reid was a leading brewing business in London. At its peak in the 1930s it was a constituent of the FT 30 index of leading companies on the London Stock Exchange. It produced the beer brand Watney's Red Barrel.
The Watney family were the main partners in the Stag Brewery, Victoria, for much of the 19th century. In 1837 James Watney became a partner in the brewery, followed by his sons James and Norman in 1856. On his death in 1884, the brewery became a private limited company.
In 1898 the company merged with Combe Delafield and Co. and Reid and Co., and was subsequently known as Watney Combe and Reid. The amalgamated company was the largest brewer in London. The Combe brewery in Longacre and the Reid brewery in Clerkenwell closed almost immediately, and production was concentrated on the Watney Stag Brewery in Pimlico. The company had an annual output of 1.8 million hectolitres.
Watney Mann was formed in 1958 with the merger of Watney, Combe, Reid & Co. Ltd with Mann, Crossman & Paulin Ltd.
The business acquired other brewers, including Wilsons of Manchester, Phipps NBC of Northampton, Samuel Webster & Sons of Halifax and Ushers of Trowbridge, before being taken over by Grand Metropolitan, a hotels and catering group, in 1972 and closed in 1979.
Watneys Red Barrel 
Watneys Red Barrel was a bitter popular in the United Kingdom in the 1960s and 1970s and was a cultural phenomenon in that era, as evidenced by references in the Monty Python "Travel Agent" sketch and the BBC series Life on Mars (Series One, episode three). It was introduced in 1931 as an export keg beer that could travel for long distances by being made stable through filtering and pasteurising – as such it was the first keg beer. It was renamed to just "Red" in 1971.
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- Access to Archives: Files held at the London Metropolitan Archives on Watney Come Reid and Co Ltd and Watney Mann Ltd
- Illustration of label of Combe Delafield & Co., Best London Porter