Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Charles Wells

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Brewery, of Bedford

1875 Charles Wells arrived back in Bedford after 20 years in the Merchant Navy. He bought a brewery and thirty two pubs at auction for £16,700.

By 1890, Charles Wells owned 80 pubs and brewed 12,552 barrels of beer a year.

Other local breweries were acquired when they became available, in St Neots, Newport Pagnall and Northampton, which brought extra pubs.

1910 the brewery became a private limited company with a pub estate of 141.

Early 1900s Charles Wells sunk a well which would provide the brewery with the highest quality supply of water

1914 Charles Wells died on 18 April. Three of his sons – Ernest, Hayward and Richard - took on the running of the company

Post WWII Some of the third generation, David and Oliver Wells, joined the company.

1976 A new brewery was built on a larger site in Havelock Street, Bedford.

1977 Secured the UK rights to brew the Jamaican lager, Red Stripe, which is still brewed today.

1990s Further added to the portfolio of lagers including Kirin of Japan and Corona Extra.

2006 Charles Wells and Young and Co of Wandsworth merged their brewing and brands divisions to create the UK’s largest family-owned brewery. Also included the acquisition of Young’s wine importing company – Cockburn & Campbell.

2007 Wells and Young’s acquired the Courage portfolio of beers.

2008 Charles Wells acquired the rights to the John Bulls Yeast and Malt trademark, and have revamped the beer which is now called John Bull Finest Bitter.

2011 Charles Wells Ltd purchased the 40% stake in Wells and Young's from Young and Co PLC.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Charles Wells [1]