Peter Austin (brewer)

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Peter Austin
Born(1921-07-18)18 July 1921
Edmonton, London, England
Died1 January 2014(2014-01-01) (aged 92)
Spouse(s)Joan (19??–19??)
Zena (19??–19??)

Peter Austin, (18 July 1921 – 1 January 2014) was a British brewer. He founded Ringwood Brewery and was a co-founder and first chairman of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA). He built some 140 new breweries in the UK and 16 other countries.

Early life and education[edit]

Peter Austin was born in Edmonton, London on 18 July 1921. He went to Highgate School,[1] followed by the British merchant navy training ship HMS Conway. His father worked for the brewing equipment supplier Pontifex, and his great-uncle had run a brewery in Christchurch.[2]


Austin founded Ringwood Brewery in 1978.[2] In 1979, David Bruce started his first Firkin Brewery brewpub in Elephant and Castle, London; Austin oversaw his choice of equipment and the design for its small basement brewery.[1]

Austin was the prime mover in establishing the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) in 1980, and its first chairman.[2] Under his leadership, SIBA campaigned for 20 years, without the support of any other body, for a progressive beer duty system (smaller breweries to pay less tax on their products) to be introduced in the UK.[3] Such a system was finally adopted by the then Chancellor Gordon Brown in 2002.[4]

By the time that Austin had retired from Ringwood Brewery, he had assisted in helping start 40 new UK breweries in a decade. After that, he worked internationally, in the US, France, China, Nigeria, and Russia, among others, building some 140 new breweries in 17 countries.[2]

In the US alone, 74 new breweries were built, all using his brewing system. He taught Alan Pugsley brewing, and he went on to found Shipyard Brewing Company in 1994, and later take over Sea Dog Brewing Company.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Austin married twice. He was predeceased by both wives, Joan and Zena, and his son Henry. He was survived by his other four children, Roland, Jane, Jeremy and Sarah.[2]


  1. ^ a b "Peter Austin is dead". Boak & Bailey. 2 January 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Protz, Roger (9 January 2014). "Peter Austin obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Boom time for Britain's craft brewers". Retrieved 5 February 2014.
  4. ^ Wainwright, Martin (August 2011). "Real ale revival led by small breweries". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 February 2014.