Brewers of the Beloved Old Speckled Hen

Greene King Brewery History

In 1799, a bold and bright nineteen-year-old moved to Bury St Edmunds to open a brewing business. Benjamin Greene, who named the establishment after himself, was soon met with enough success to attract an investor. In 1806, Benjamin purchased a 100-year-old pub, named Westgate Brewery, to add to his budding brewing business. Expansion and acquisitions have been an integral part of the Greene brewing empire ever since.

Benjamin’s son, Edward, was equally business savvy. After inheriting his father’s business in 1836, he doubled the number of employees and drove production to 40,000 barrels a year by 1870. He also believed in fairly treating his employees, and was one of the first employers in the United Kingdom to introduce housing and pension benefits for his workers.

In 1887, Edward merged with his largest competitor, Frederick King, to create Greene King Brewery. Subsequent generations have been conquering the beer world ever since, surviving two world wars, spear-heading the introduction of women to the workplace and in 1999, acquiring the Old Speckled Hen brand – one of Britain’s most popular English Ales, selling more than 53 million pints a year.

Discover how Old Speckled Hen got its unusual name and became Britain’s most beloved English Ale for over 30 years.


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