Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 140,378 pages of information and 227,382 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Felinfoel Brewery

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of Felinfoel, Dyfed

Mid-1830s David John, who owned iron and tinplate works around Llanelli, bought the King's Head opposite his home in the village of Felinfoel.

Late 1830's David John renamed his tavern the Union Inn.

1878 Brewery constructed by David John.

When David John retired, his sons David and Martin took over the running of the brewery, with Llewellyn John looking after the Gorse tinplate works in nearby Dafen.

1906 Registered as a private company; also produced mineral waters under the Trebuan Spring label.

David John's daughter, Mary Anne, married John Lewis, the manager of the Wern Ironworks. This was later to lead to a serious split in the company.

1935 Even after the introduction of canned beer in the USA, the British brewing trade was not interested in the new packaging, except that two brewers in the Llanelli area, where tinplate was made, saw the opportunity for increased local employment. Buckley's Brewery was reported by the Western Mail to be investigating canned beer in October 1935. Felinfoel, with family interests in the tinplate industry, were just as keen. Metal Box worked with the St David's Tinplate Works in Bynea which supplied the sheets for the first British beer cans; these were assembled in London and then returned to Felinfoel for filling. Unlike the American beer, the Welsh beer was not pasteurised before canning. Buckleys soon followed with its own experimental canning but did not market the beer.

1936 Felinfoel began to sell canned beer. A month later Baldwins issued leaflets to its workers in South Wales urging them to buy their beer (and cider, fruit juices and milk) in tin containers instead of bottles, in order to stimulate the tinplate trade. Other brewers soon followed suit.

WWII Felinfoel was allowed to continue canning because of its tinplate connections

Post-war the brewery struggled to survive.

1965 A bitter disagreement between the John and Lewis families came to a head when the larger neighbour, Buckley's, bid for the brewery and won support of the Johns but this was not sufficient to acquire the brewery although they continued to own 49.5% of the shares

1970s modernisation of the brewery

The brewery is still an independent family concern; the managing director is from the fifth generation.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Felinfoel Brewery [1]