Today is the birthday of George Pargiter Fuller (January 8, 1833-April 2, 1927). He was the “the eldest surviving son of John Bird Fuller, a partner in Fuller Smith & Turner, brewers.” “Fuller inherited a share in the family brewery (in Chiswick, London) on his father’s death in 1872, and was also chairman of Avon Rubber in Melksham. He also served as High Sheriff of Wiltshire in 1878. He lived at Neston Park, Corsham, Wiltshire.” He spent most of his time, however, as a politician. He “was a member of the Wiltshire County Council, chairman of the Chippenham Rural District Council and of the Corsham Parish Council and School Board and a Justice of the Peace for Wiltshire,” and “a Liberal Party politician in the United Kingdom who sat in the House of Commons from 1885 to 1895.” Despite his lineage and ownership stake in his family’s brewery, he doesn’t appear to have been very involved in its management at all.
Today is the 36th birthday of Mark Dredge, who writes the beer blog Pencil and Spoon from his home in Kent, England. I’ve had the pleasure of drinking with Mark on a few of his trips across the pond. The first time, at the opening gala for SF Beer Week, and several years ago at the Beer Bloggers Conference in Boulder, Colorado, and more recently judging at GABF. By day, he works in digital marketing and social media, most recently for Pilsner Urquell, and by night, he’s “a beer writer and blogger.” The last two times I saw him, a few years ago in Belgium, and also in San Francisco, it was working for Pilsner Urquell. In December 2009, he won the British Guild of Beer Writers New Media Writer of the Year for Pencil and Spoon. If you don’t read his stuff, you should. Join me in wishing Mark a very happy birthday.
Today is the 45th birthday of Melissa Cole, UK beer writer extraordinaire. I’d met Melissa first online and then in person at the Rake in London several years ago. She’s also been coming over to our side of the pond to judge at both GABF and the World Beer Cup. She’s a great advocate for beer generally, but especially for women, and is great fun to hang out and drink with. She also writes online at Taking the Beard Out of Beer! which is subtitled “A Girl’s Guide To Beer.” Her first book, Let Me Tell You About Beer, was published a couple of years ago, which she followed up last year with The Beer Kitchen: The Art and Science of Cooking, & Pairing, with Beer. Join me in wishing Melissa a very happy birthday.
Today is the 64th birthday of Ron Pattinson, a brewing historian who writes online at Shut Up About Barclay Perkins. Ron lives in Amsterdam but is obsessed with the British brewery Barclay Perkins, which is what the title of his blog refers to. I have finally had the pleasure of meeting Ron in person, when we were both guests of Carlsberg for a press trip to Copenhagen a couple of years ago, and then again two years ago again in Denmark, when he was there with his lovely wife. A few more years ago, Lew Bryson had a chance to go drinking with Ron, too. Join me in wishing Ron a very happy birthday.
Today is the birthday of John Courage (October 1, 1761-October 1797). He founded the Courage Brewery in London in 1787, when he bought a brew house in Horselydown, Bermondsey, London.
This biography is from Courage & Co., a website dedicated to the Courage Brewery and the Courage family.
John Courage, the founder of Courage & Co., came to London in 1780 as a
younger son of a French Huguenot family who had been exiled and settled in Scotland a century before.
In a letter dated 7th February 1786, the Founder’s sister writes to him congratulating him on his marriage to Harriet Murdoch and that “the marriage is no surprise to us and be that she be a sober good woman and that we drank your health on your marriage night very hearty.”
By 1787 he had already been in business in London for eight years as an
agent for the Glasgow shipping firm of Carron which traded from the
Glasgow Wharf (the Carron and Continental Wharves) on the north side of the Thames, downstream from the Tower of London.
John Courage was the only surviving son of his late father, Alexander,
when he left Aberdeen for London in about 1780 to become the Wapping
agent for Carron Shipping, leaving behind in Aberdeen his mother Isabel
and his unmarried sister Ann. John could see across the river to the
foreshore of Southwark and decided to diversify his interests by going into the beer business. Thus it was that the name of Courage became
associated with the brewing industry.
When John Courage, together with a number of friends, settled for the
purchase of a brew house at Horselydown, on the south bank of the
Thames, he was investing his acumen and money in a staple industry at an opportune time. He purchased the Anchor Brewery at Horselydown,
Bermondsey, in 1787 from John and Hagger Ellis. An earlier owner of the
Brewery was Vassal Webbing a Flemish émigré. What is interesting is that both Vassal Webbing and John were described in G.N. Hardinge’s book, Courages 1787-1932, as being Protestant émigrés. Frank Courage wrote to his daughter Milly in New Zealand in 1914, that he thought John (his Grandfather), could have come from Flanders, as brewing has always been more of an industry there than in France. The only known French Protestant Courages in the 1600s were Thomas and Nicholas Courage, and their names do not appear in Aberdeen, so the search has shifted to Flanders (Belgium), for our Protestant forebears.
On 17th December 1787, John Courage, aged 26, paid a cheque for £100 to
the Morris Estate as part payment for the Private House and Old Brewhouse at Horselydown over the Thames and opposite Wapping. On Christmas Eve, John paid the balance on the purchase of £674 18s 9d. On 4th January 1788, he paid George Courage £26 6s for sundries and scroll book. On 15th January 1788 John purchased one silk waistcoat for 19 shillings 8d, and on 7th June paid John Ward £10 for a gelding. On 15th November 1788, the Founder’s sister Ann writes to her brother “this piece of news that our king is died” (Bonnie Prince Charlie in exile in Italy).
In March 1793, tragedy struck and John’s sister Ann died of a fever in
Aberdeen and was buried beside her father in Old Machar; there is a long letter from the Founder’s mother, Isabel Courage, about this in the Courage Collection at the Greater London Record Office, EC1, together with the other original letters that survive from this period including the old brewery book.
In May 1793, Archibald Courage from Findhorn supplies his cousin “with
1000 American staves and 20 bundles hoops”. Courage Beer was being
shipped all over the world, as its reputation grew. 2 hogsheads of Porter
on 25th February 1793 were shipped back to Scotland to the Earl of Fife,
and throughout 1794 barrels of porter were dispatched to India, Dominica, Antigua, Amsterdam, Hambro, Gibraltar and Lisbon. Ann Murdoch, the Founder’s mother-in-law spent £6-10-6 on clothes for her grandson John in September 1796 and Mrs Courage’s house expenses for the month of October 1796 were £9-6-10d.
On 26th June 1788 a son, John, was born to John and his wife Harriet and
on 8th June 1790 twins Ann and Elizabeth were born. On 23rd February
1795 another daughter, Harriet, was born.
John Courage died in October 1797 aged 36 and was buried at St John’s,
Horselydown. His widow, Harriet died in May the following year aged 32,
and was also buried at Horselydown. On Harriet’s death, the new John
Courage was only 10, and John Donaldson, the managing clerk, took over
the running of the Brewery, becoming a partner in the newly named firm of Courage and Donaldson, taking a third of the gross profits which was
afterwards enlarged to half, as well as half of the capital.
This is a short history of the brewery from its Wikipedia page:
Courage & Co Ltd was started by John Courage at the Anchor Brewhouse in Horsleydown, Bermondsey in 1787. He was a Scottish shipping agent of French Huguenot descent. It became Courage & Donaldson in 1797. By 1888, it had been registered simply as Courage. In 1955, the company merged with Barclay, Perkins & Co Ltd (who were located at the nearby Anchor Brewery) to become Courage, Barclay & Co Ltd. Only five years later another merger with the Reading based Simonds Brewery led to the name changing to Courage, Barclay, Simonds & Co Ltd. In the late 1960s, the group had assets of approximately £100m, and operated five breweries in London, Reading, Bristol, Plymouth and Newark-on-Trent. It owned some 5,000 licensed premises spread over the whole of Southern England, a large part of South Wales and an extensive area of the East Midlands and South Yorkshire. It was employing some 15,000 people and producing something like 75 million imperial gallons (340,000,000 L) of beer annually. Its name was simplified to Courage Ltd in October 1970 and the company was taken over by the Imperial Tobacco Group Ltd two years later.
Its vast Worton Grange (later the Berkshire) brewery was opened on the Reading/Shinfield border in 1978. The Anchor Brewery closed in 1981 and all brewing was transferred to Reading. Imperial Tobacco was acquired by the Hanson Trust in 1986 and it sold off Courage to Elders IXL who were renamed the Foster’s Brewing Group in 1990. The following year the Courage section of Foster’s merged with the breweries of Grand Metropolitan. Its public houses were owned by a joint-company called Inntrepreneur Estates. Scottish & Newcastle purchased Courage from Foster’s in 1995, creating Scottish Courage as its brewing arm.
Today is the birthday of Thomas William Everard (September 8, 1851-January 1, 1925). Thomas William Everard was the son of William Everard, co-founder of what would become known as the Everards Brewery, which is still a going concern today, and is still run by an Everard, who is fifth generation from William, and fourth from Thomas William.
Thomas William Everard was born on the 8th of September 1851, the year the Great Exhibition was staged by Prince Albert in Crystal Palace in London. He was the youngest of three children and joined his father’s firm at an early age. Thomas became very involved in his work at the brewery. He was so fond of his work he did not like to take holidays.
In 1890 a new partnership was formed to run the company- Everards, Son and Welldo. The partners were Thomas, his 69 year old father William, and a local wine and spirits merchant. Charles Leeds William Welldon.
Thomas took over the running of the brewery after the death of his father William, in 1892. He married Florence Muriel Nickisson of London on the 28th of September 1888. They had two children-William Lindsay, born in 1891, and his sister Phyllis Muriel, born three years later. William Lindsay would later go onto run the brewery.
Thomas enjoyed both country and urban life and was an active member of the Leicestershire Agricultural Society, as was his father. He continued the Everards tradition of public service and, like his father; he became a J.P. before being made a deputy Lieutenant of the County, and, in 1905, High Sheriff.
And here’s the basic brewery history from Wikipedia:
The company began as Hull and Everard in 1849 when William Everard, a farmer from Narborough Wood House and brewer Thomas Hull leased the Southgate Street Brewery of Wilmot and Co from the retiring proprietors. Although Hull continued as a maltster, Everard was the driving force behind the business which he managed until his death in 1892.
The business expanded as the company progressively acquired outlets, with over 100 pubs by the late 1880s. In 1875 the company moved to a new state of the art tower brewery designed by William’s nephew architect John Breedon Everard. The brewery, on the corner of Southgate St and Castle St extracted very pure water from wells 300 feet deep beneath the premises and steam engines played a significant part in the mechanisation.
After the death of William, control passed to his son Thomas. The historic centre of the UK brewing industry remained some 40 miles away at Burton-upon-Trent, which by the 1890s produced one tenth of Britain’s beer. Everard’s leased the Bridge Brewery on Umplett Green island in 1895 but its 10,000 barrels per year capacity proved insufficient. It was replaced with the newer Trent brewery in Dale St which became available after going into liquidation in 1898. The Southgate brewery remained the distribution centre to the Leicestershire pubs with beer arriving by rail from Burton. The Trent brewery was purchased outright in 1901. It was renamed the Tiger Brewery around 1970.
At some point their Tiger Best Bitter became their flagship beer, and I remember really enjoying during my first CAMRA festival in the early 1990s. It was a regional festival in Peterborough, which happened to be going on in later summer at the end of my wife’s summer semester at the University of Durham. So we took the train up to Peterborough from London to attend the festival, and it was great fun. I had many fine beer that night, but for whatever reason I clearly recall liking this one.
Today is the birthday of John Allen Young (August 7, 1921-September 17, 2006). Young was the great-great-grandson of Charles Young, who co-founded Young’s brewery in 1831. “He joined the family firm in 1954 after serving as a fighter pilot and a merchant seaman. He became chairman and chief executive in 1962 when his father retired and reverted to executive chairman in 1999.”
Here’s his obituary, written by Roger Protz, from the Guardian in 2006.
John Young, who has died aged 85, will have a prominent place in the Brewers’ Hall of Fame, revered as the father of the “real ale revolution”, an iconoclast who believed in good traditional beer drunk in good traditional pubs. Young, chairman of Young’s of Wandsworth in south London for 44 years, steered the family brewery on a different course from the rest of the industry in the 1970s. It was a course that was derided at the time: however, it proved not only successful for Young’s but also encouraged other regional brewers to follow suit.
A spate of mergers in the 1960s had created six national brewers who attempted to transform the way beer was made by switching from cask ale to keg beer – filtered, pasteurised and artificially carbonated. Panic ensued as such brands as Watney’s Red Barrel, Worthington E and Whitbread Tankard rapidly dominated the market. Smaller regional brewers rushed to emulate the “Big Six”, as they were known.
In Wandsworth, John Young raised his standard above the Ram Brewery, on the oldest brewing site in Britain, and declared he would remain faithful to beer that matured naturally in its cask. He was laughed to scorn by directors of other breweries. Among the legion of stories about him, one is told of a meeting of the Brewers’ Society in London where, during a break for coffee, one member saw a funeral hearse passing by outside. “There goes another of your customers, John,” he told Young, to roars of laughter from his colleagues. John Young had the last laugh.
He was born in Winchester, the eldest of four sons of William Allen Young. The family was steeped in brewing. John was the great-great-grandson of Charles Allen Young, one of two businessmen who took over the 16th-century Ram Brewery in 1831. John’s mother was Joan Barrow Simonds, a member of the family that owned Simonds Brewery in Reading.
But John’s first love was sailing: he was educated at the Nautical College in Pangbourne. Sailing holidays in the late 1930s on the river Orwell in Suffolk brought John and his brothers into contact with Arthur Ransome at Pin Mill, the setting for We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea. Ransome claimed that he, rather than the brothers’ father, introduced the boys to the pleasures of beer and darts.
Either side of the second world war, John went to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he graduated with an honours degree in economics. During the war he served with distinction as a fighter pilot on aircraft carriers. He left the Fleet Air Arm as a lieutenant commander in 1947 and launched a career in shipping. For a while he was based in Antwerp, where he met his Belgian wife Yvonne. They married in 1951 and settled in West Sussex, from where John, with his brothers, was summoned to work at the Ram Brewery in 1954.
He succeeded his father as chairman in 1962 and set about refashioning the company to meet the challenges of the time. Improving the pub estate and offering children’s rooms – a daring move at the time – did not mean a move away from traditional values. The brewery retained a fierce commitment to cask beer and delivered it to local pubs by horse-drawn drays, while a live ram mascot, along with ducks and geese, were familiar if bizarre sights at Wandsworth.
The energetic new chairman visited every pub in his estate. He was on first name terms with his landlords and became friendly with regular customers. Company annual general meetings became lavish affairs where a white-suited John Young would proclaim his belief in traditional brewing values. He was so horrified by the way some London pubs were being remodeled in the 1970s – as wild west saloons or sputniks – that he once threatened to enter one pub armed with a packet of soap flakes to throw into a large fountain that had been installed there.
The commitment to cask beer paid off. Sales of Young’s ales rocketed and their success was instrumental in helping the Campaign for Real Ale to make its mark in the early 1970s. In 1975 John Young was made a CBE to mark his work in brewing and for charity: he was chairman of the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in Bloomsbury and raised millions of pounds to build new wards and install modern equipment.
His passion for brewing remained unabated, and John continued to work and chair company AGMs up to this year, though he was visibly ill with cancer. His last few months in office were dogged by controversy: a redevelopment scheme in Wandsworth meant the brewery had to close. When a suitable alternative site could not be found in London, Young’s agreed to merge its brewing operations with Charles Wells of Bedford, a move that has not pleased all lovers of Young’s distinctive beers.
But 200 Young’s pubs will remain in London and the south-east, bricks and mortar reminders of the man who guided their fortunes with undiminished fervour for more than 40 years.
He is survived by a son, James, who is deputy chairman of Young’s, and a daughter, Ilse.
A portrait of John Young that used to be in the brewery tasting room.
And here’s another obit, this one from the Telegraph:
The brewing industry is mourning the loss of one of its most passionate and colourful characters, Young & Co’s chairman, John Young. He died at the age of 85 after a long battle against cancer. The timing is particularly poignant as Young’s will this week cease production at the historic Ram Brewery in Wandsworth, south London, where ales were first brewed in 1581.
Mr Young – known affectionately as Mr John by staff – was a staunch opponent of red tape. Last year, he complained in the annual report: “At the brewery, we can no longer walk down the yard to the offices because of health and safety regulations. Our horses need passports. Since they cannot fit into a photo-booth, a vet must be employed to sketch the animal.”
Mr Young will also be remembered for his eccentric annual shareholder meetings. In what became a tradition as he fended off attempts at reform by activist shareholder Guinness Peat Group, he started bringing props to the event.
One year, he wore a bee-keeper’s hat to show his resolve to keep the group’s preferential B shares for family members. On other occasions, he brandished a megaphone to make sure “certain people, who seemed to be ignoring what I have to say” could hear him, and sported oversized boxing gloves.
Today is UK beer writer Ben McFarland’s birthday. I first met Ben when he was over here working on the CAMRA beer guide to the west coast with Tom Sandham and Glenn Payne. We invited Ben to join us judging Double IPA’s at the Bistro’s Double IPA Festival, which I believe was something of a shock to the system for both Ben and Tom. These days he and Tom are The Thinking Drinkers, performing their “‘The Thinking Drinker’s Guide to Alcohol,’ a unique comedic drinking show that debuted at the 2011 Edinburgh Fringe.'” Join me in wishing Ben a very happy birthday.
Note: The last two photos were purloined from Facebook.
Today is the birthday of English beer writer Adrian Tierney-Jones. Adrian’s written several beer books, and writes online at Called to the Bar. I first got to know him when he was the editor for 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die, to which I contributed around two-dozen entries. I’ve also seen Adrian at events in London and Belgium since then, and he’s a great person to share a pint with. Join me in wishing Adrian a very happy birthday.
[Note: first and third photos purloined from Facebook.]
Today would have been the 66th birthday of Glenn Payne, an Englishman who wore many beer hats, but unfortunately passed away five years ago. I first met Glenn many moons ago when he was the beer buyer for Safeway in the UK. Since then, we’d judged together many times at both GABF and the World Beer Cup, and once at the Great British Beer Festival, too. He’s been involved with Meantime Brewing among too many projects for me to keep track of, and he’s been a great ambassador for British beer but, perhaps more importantly, for American beer in Great Britain. Join me in drinking a toast to Glenn’s memory. Cheers, mate.
With Chris and Cheryl Black, owners of the Falling Rock, Mark Dorber, formerly the publican of the White Horse in London (and now owner of the Anchor) and Glenn Payne at the Brewers Reception at Wynkoop during GABF Week in 2007.