Fuller's Brewery

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Fuller's Brewery
Subsidiary
IndustryBrewing
Founded1845
FounderJohn Bird Fuller, Henry Smith and John Turner
Headquarters
Asahi UK, Woking, Surrey
,
England
ProductsBeer
Production output
337,000 UK barrels (in FY2017)
Revenue£431.1m (FY2019)[1]
ParentAsahi Breweries
Websitehttps://www.fullersbrewery.co.uk

The Fuller's Griffin Brewery is an English brewery based in Chiswick, West London, founded in 1845 and having been a family-run regional brewery until January 2019, when the brewing division of Fuller, Smith & Turner PLC was sold to Japanese international beverage giant Asahi.[2]

John Fuller's Griffin Brewery dates from 1816; in 1845, his son, John Bird Fuller, was joined by Henry Smith and John Turner.

Following the sale of the brewery, Fuller, Smith & Turner still own and operate over 380 pubs, inns, and hotels across the south of England.

History[edit]

Beer has been brewed on Fuller's historic Griffin Brewery site in Chiswick since the seventeenth century.[a] From the original brewery in the gardens of Bedford House on Chiswick Mall, the business expanded and thrived until the early part of the nineteenth century. Money problems forced the owners, Douglas and Henry Thompson and Philip Wood, to seek a partner.[3] John Fuller, of Neston Park, Wiltshire was approached to see if he would inject the required amount of money. In 1829 he joined the enterprise, but the partnership proved a difficult one and in 1841 Douglas Thompson fled to France and the partnership was dissolved. It became apparent that it was difficult for one man with no brewing experience to run a brewery of that size alone. In 1845 John Fuller's son, John Bird Fuller, was joined by Henry Smith from the Romford Brewery of Ind & Smith and his brother-in-law, head brewer John Turner, thereby forming Fuller, Smith & Turner.[3]

Reg Drury joined Fullers in 1959 at a time when cask ales were in decline, and worked there for 40 years, becoming the director of brewing. It was thought at the time that it was only possible to cask beer in open fermenters, but Drury experimented and found that it could also be made in more modern, closed conical fermenters. The switchover to conical fermenters improved consistency and allowed Drury to perfect the recipes of Fuller's beers.[4]

In 2019 Fuller, Smith & Turner Plc sold their drinks company (The Fuller's Griffin Brewery, Cornish Orchards, Dark Star Brewery & Nectar Imports) to Asahi for £250m. This included the entirety of Fuller’s beer, cider and soft drinks brewing and production, wine wholesaling, distribution, and the Griffin Brewery site.[5][6] Asahi stated that it would continue to brew beer at the Griffin brewery.[7]

Griffin Brewery[edit]

The wisteria plant at the Griffin brewery 2008

The first record of the Griffin Brewery in Chiswick dates from 1816, when one of the owners of the company at the time, Douglas Thompson, acquired the name from a failed brewery (Meux & Reid) in the City of London.[8] As well as its range of beers, The Griffin Brewery, on the A4 in Chiswick, is famous for having the oldest wisteria plant in the UK, planted in 1816.[9][10] The public can take a guided tour of the site.[11]

Beers[edit]

An assortment of Fuller's bottles
A selection of Fuller's brands from the museum display

Fuller's brews London Pride and other award-winning ales such as Chiswick Bitter, ESB and 1845.[12] Its beers are exported to about 80 countries around the world. Its biggest overseas markets in 2014 were Russia and Sweden.[13]

Its London Porter has won awards including World's Best Standard Porter and Europe's Best Standard Porter at the World Beer Awards,[14] and Champion Keg of Great Britain.[15] Chiswick Bitter is a 3.5% ABV sessionable ale with strong hop characteristics.

Fuller's 1845 has won awards including CAMRA's Champion Bottle Conditioned Beer in 1998.[16] In February 1995, while visiting the Griffin Brewery, Prince Charles added a handful of hops to a copper of 1845.[17] Fuller's Vintage Ale is released around Christmas and has been made since 1997. In 2002, the year of the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth II, Fuller's added Goldings hops and Golden Promise malt to its Vintage Ale.[18] Past Masters XX Strong Ale is a bottle-conditioned 7.5% strong ale based on a September 1891 entry in the brewing logs. It is made using Plumage Archer barley.[19] Fuller's Past Masters Double Stout is a 7.4% bottle conditioned dark and creamy stout based on an August 1893 entry in the brewing logs. It was released in 2011 and is also made using Plumage Archer barley.[20]

Fuller's 1966 Strong Ale was released in 2013 using a recipe from June 1966. It is a ruby coloured ale brewed with pale ale malt, Goldings and Fuggles hops and cane sugars.[21] Fuller's Brewer's Reserve is a collection of four bottled beers: No. 1 - a 7.7% strong ale launched in 2008 which spent 500 days in 30-year-old single malt whisky casks;[22] No. 2 - an 8.2% ale oak aged in Courvoisier Cognac casks;[23] No. 3 - a 9.0% beer matured for more than two years in Auchentoshan distillery whisky casks;[24] No. 4 - an 8.5% beer matured in Comte de Lauvia Armagnac casks for a year.[25]

Gales HSB (Horndean Special Bitter) is a cask conditioned 4.8% bitter. It was first brewed in 1959 in Horndean, Hampshire.[26]

The nearest pub to the brewery, the Mawson Arms on Chiswick Lane, with blue plaque to the poet Alexander Pope

Frontier was launched in 2013 – Fuller's first lager since the short-lived K2 brand of the 1980s;[27] it has an ABV of 4.5%.[28] In 2013, Fuller's bought cider makers Cornish Orchards.[29]

In February 2018, Fuller's bought Dark Star Brewery, based in Partridge Green, West Sussex, for an undisclosed sum.[29][30]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Fuller's History and Heritage page states "In the late 1600s".

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Fullers Annual Report and Accounts 2019" (PDF). Fuller's. 15 October 2019.
  2. ^ "Our breweries – Asahi International". www.asahiinternational.com.
  3. ^ a b "History and Heritage". Fuller's. Archived from the original on 29 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  4. ^ Protz, Roger (18 June 2015). "Reg Drury obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 August 2020.
  5. ^ "Proposed Sale of the Fullers Beer Business to Asahi and Trading Update - Fuller's".
  6. ^ Gates, Philip (25 January 2019). "Brewer to sell beer business to Japanese firm for £250m". businessInsider. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  7. ^ Wood, Zoe; Jolly, Jasper (25 January 2019). "London Pride maker Fuller's sells beer business to Asahi for £250m". The Guardian.
  8. ^ London Pride - 150 Years of Fuller, Smith & Turner PLC (1995)
  9. ^ "The oldest wisteria in England". Fullers. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2018. This beautiful smelling purple genus has been creeping up the side of our brewery walls since 1816, making it officially the oldest in England.
  10. ^ "Battle to save historic wisteria (From Your Local Guardian)". Yourlocalguardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-07-30.
  11. ^ "Find Out Where the Magic Happens at Griffin Brewery London - Fuller's". Fullers.co.uk. 2015-07-17. Retrieved 2015-07-30.
  12. ^ "Browse over 50 Quality Beers and Ales from Fuller's Brewery - Fuller's". Fullers.co.uk. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  13. ^ "Quality, Service and Pride Every hour, every day : Fuller's Annual Report 2014". Fullers.co.uk. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  14. ^ "Fuller's London Porter". Worldbeerawards.com. Archived from the original on 13 April 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  15. ^ "Winners from the National Cask, Keg & Bottle Competition 2014". Siba.co.uk. 2014-03-12. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  16. ^ "Champion Bottled Beer of Britain". CAMRA. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  17. ^ "Classic Beer of the Month February 2013: Fuller's 1845 - Inside Beer: Beer News, Beer Reviews and Beer Tasting Events". Inside Beer. 2013-01-31. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  18. ^ "Fuller's Vintage Ale 2002". Ratebeer.com. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  19. ^ "Fuller's Past Masters XX Strong Ale, 7.5% - Inside Beer: Beer News, Beer Reviews and Beer Tasting Events". Inside Beer. 15 February 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  20. ^ "Fullers, Past Masters Double Stout (England)". Beer-pages.com. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  21. ^ "Past Masters 1966 Strong Ale by Fuller's". FoodBev. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  22. ^ "Brewer's Reserve No.1 ; A Strong Ale with a lot of Spirit - Fuller's". Fullers.co.uk. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  23. ^ "Fuller's Brewer's Reserve No 2". Beer-pages.com. 7 August 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  24. ^ "Fuller's Brewer's Reserve No.3, 9.0%, Dark Ale". Perfectpint.co.uk. Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  25. ^ "Fuller's Brewer's Reserve No.4 revealed". .beerguild.co.uk. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  26. ^ "HSB; a Popular Quality English Bitter First Launched in 1959 - Fuller's". Fullers.co.uk. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  27. ^ Walsh, Dominic (6 June 2015). "Fuller's boldly goes into craft market with Frontier". The Times. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
  28. ^ "Fuller's to launch first ever lager". Morning Advertiser. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  29. ^ a b Key, Alys (20 February 2018). "Fuller's just bought this independent craft brewer". cityam.com. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  30. ^ Wingett, Mark (20 February 2018). "Fuller's announces Dark Star take over". Morning Advertiser. Retrieved 30 March 2018.

Coordinates: 51°29′14″N 0°15′02″W / 51.48722°N 0.25056°W / 51.48722; -0.25056

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