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ALE Winter 2003/04 No. 312 : Next section

ALE Winter 2003/04 No. 312

With the enormous changes recently in breweries and pub chains, this seems a good time to summarise the situation (as of November 2003).

The big brewers

Interbrew
At long last is promoting Draught Bass after years of neglect but is promoting 'new recipe' Boddingtons (ABV increased to 4.1%) much more.
However Stella Artois is still its leading brand.
Scottish Courage
Has sold the Masham brewery and its brands such as Old Peculier back to the Theakston family (having bought the business in 1987 from Matthew Brown Ltd., who bought out the family in 1984).
Bought HP Bulmer (the cider producer) in the summer.
Brands include John Smith's, Newcastle Brown, Fosters, McEwan's, Courage. Kronenbourg, Beamish.
Coors
Launched a new premium ale Worthington 1744 (4.4%).
Brands include Carling, Grolsch, Caffreys.
Continues to support its Brewing Museum in Burton-on-Trent.
Carlsberg-Tetley
Rarely seems to show much interest in real ale but its Tetley Mild and Dark Mild are well-regarded, for instance.
Brands include Carlsberg, Tetley, Skol, Ind Coope Burton Ale.

The big pubcos

Spirit (managed pubs) - around 2,500
Has bought Scottish & Newcastle's pubs (including the T&J Bernard and John Barras branded chains) plus its Premier Lodge hotel chain.
Likely to sell many pubs and Premier Lodge off.
Mitchell & Butler (mainly/entirely managed pubs) - around 2,100
Demerged from Six Continents (Bass) earlier this year.
Punch Taverns (tenanted pubs) - around 7,400
Once its purchase of Pubmaster is complete.
Enterprise Inns (tenanted pubs) - around 9,000
Once its purchase of the Unique Pub Company is complete.
The lesser pub chains such as JD Wetherspoon, Laurel and Yates are mostly in the hundreds of pubs.

The regionals

These still believe in "vertical integration" - brewing beer and selling it to the free trade and to their own pub estates (numbered in the low thousands).
Greene King
About 1,100 pubs
Now selling its beers more-or-less nationally
Strongly promoting its IPA and Abbot beers
Investing in its pub estate
Is having a lot of success with larger bottles of beer (more like a wine bottle)
Is promoting bottled beer as an alternative to wine via its Beer to dine for campaign
Wolverhampton & Dudley
About 1,600 pubs
Its most widely-known brand is Marston's Pedigree, still brewed using the unique Burton Union cask system and it's investing millions in that brewing plant.
Has just launched Old Empire, a genuine recreation of a 19th-century India Pale Ale.
Charles Wells
The Publican's Regional Brewer of the Year 2003
Its pioneering Mini Cask provides over 8 pints of fresh real ale at home
It's particularly strong in championing the revival of St George's Day
A huge brewing operation, as it makes a wide range of beers including Red Stripe and Kirin


ALE Winter 2003/04 No. 312 : Next section
Cambridge & District CAMRA