Greene King is a large pub retailer and brewer. It is based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England. The company owns pubs, restaurants and hotels. It was listed on the London Stock Exchange until it was acquired by CK Assets in October 2019.
(Private limited company)
Bury St Edmunds, England, UK
|Philip Yea (Chairman)|
Nick Mackenzie (CEO)
|Revenue||£2,176.7 million (2018)|
|£373.1 million (2018)|
|£162.5 million (2018)|
|Owner||CK Asset Holdings|
The brewery was founded by Benjamin Greene in Bury St. Edmunds in 1799. In Richard Wilson’s biographical analysis of the Greene family, he credits various family members for being able to achieve distinction in the worlds of business and banking, literature and broadcasting in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.’
Greene King has grown via mergers and acquisitions, including Rayments Brewery (1961), the Magic Pub Company (1996), Hungry Horse (1996), Morland Brewery (1999), Old English Inns (2001), Morrells (2002), a large part of the Laurel Pub Company (2004), Ridley's Brewery (2005), Belhaven Brewery (2005), Hardys and Hansons (2006), the Loch Fyne fish restaurant chain (2007), Cloverleaf (2011), Realpubs (2011), the Capital Pub Company (2011) and the Spirit Pub Company (2015).
The Spirit acquisition, where Greene King bought Spirit for £773.6m, took the total number of Greene King sites to 3,116, brought 14 brands together and made Greene King the largest managed pub company in the UK. It was completed on 23 June 2015.
In 2019 the Hong Kong based CK Assets announced the proposed take over of Greene King, which shareholders will have to approve. According to the Financial Times, the holding company is taking the view that the pubs owned by Greene King are an asset that is safe from potential recession. Analyst David Blennerhassett told the FT that CK Assets has a track record of buying such assets in the UK and he does not expect it to sell Greene King later as a bet on the falling pound. The takeover was approved by the High Court in October 2019.
The Greene King brewery in Bury St Edmunds produces beers branded in the names of breweries now closed, including Morland (Old Speckled Hen), Ruddles, Hardys & Hanson and Tolly Cobbold. The Belhaven Brewery in Dunbar continues to operate in Scotland.
- Its retail division is split between its destination pubs and restaurants (with brands including Hungry Horse, Loch Fyne, Taylor Walker and Metropolitan Pub Company) and its local pubs. Its strategy is to open further retail outlets.
- Its pub partners division has leased, tenanted and franchised pubs. Its strategy is to reduce the numbers of these outlets.
There is a visitor centre next to the brewery, and tours are run regularly throughout the week. The brewery has an exhibition of pub sign artwork by George Taylor, who designed over 250 such signs for Greene King pubs.
In 2016, Greene King launched the Get Into Hospitality Programme in partnership with The Prince’s Trust. The aim of the programme is to address the skills and experience gaps that prevent unemployed people from getting into work. Those who successfully complete and graduate from the programme are offered a role onto the Greene King Apprenticeship Programme.
In 2017, Greene King launched the Craft Academy, an 18 month brewing venture led by apprentices. Through the programme, apprentices earn while they learn about brewing, design and marketing. Through the scheme, they will gain a Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Sales. The first five beers from the Craft Academy was launched at Craft Beer Rising Festival in London and include; Over Easy (3.8% session IPA), Big Bang IPA (5.6% bold and citrusy IPA), Bitter Sweet (6% black IPA), Desert Ryeder (4.8% rye beer) and High & Dry (5% dry hop lager).
Greene King's ongoing business expansion has sometimes been the subject of criticism. As a result of its active acquisition policy, it has come to be known by beer protesters as Greedy King. The growing consumer reaction to Greene King buying out smaller breweries was demonstrated towards the end of 2006 when a pub in Lewes, East Sussex started a well-publicised protest against Greene King for removing the locally produced Harveys Sussex Best Bitter from sale, while continuing to sell other guest beers.
In January 2014, popular Manchester pub The Lass O'Gowrie, voted "Best Pub in Britain" at the Great British Pub Awards in 2012, closed after landlord Gareth Kavanagh was forced out in an argument over rent. Having lost 40% of their trade after the BBC moved to Salford, Kavanagh had won a rent reduction at an independent tribunal before being forced out by the brewery.
- Abbot Ale - A premium bitter (5.0% abv) first brewed in the 1950s. The ingredients are pale, crystal and amber malts; with First Gold, Challenger and Fuggles hops - the Fuggles being late-hopped. In 2007 Abbot Reserve (6.5% abv) was introduced as a winter special in the cask, with year-round availability in the bottle.
- Greene King IPA - An English IPA (3.6% abv) served in pubs and cans available from supermarkets and off-licences nationally. It is made using Challenger and First Gold hops and using pale and crystal malt. Greene King IPA controversially won the Gold award at the 2004 Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Great British Beer Festival in the Bitter category and runner-up in the Champion Beer of Britain category. In 2009, Greene King began to roll out a new form of dispense which allows customers to choose either a "Northern" or a "Southern" head on their beer. In 2012, two extensions of the brand were launched: Gold and Reserve.
- IPA Export - A stronger cask bitter (5.0% abv) IPA available from off-licences in bottles, also made using Challenger and English First Gold hops.
- Olde Suffolk/Strong Suffolk Vintage - A strong old ale (6% abv) that is a blend of two ales, one being aged in oak for two years. It is available in bottles.
- St Edmunds - A crisp golden ale (4.2% abv) available in both bottles and cask nationally.
- Greene King XX Mild (3% ABV). A dark mild ale available on cask. Black and Crystal malts, Northdown hops.
Hardy's and Hansons
- Olde Trip - A 4.3% Premium Ale. Named in honour of the Nottingham inn Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, which claims to be the oldest inn in Britain. As of September 2007 this was for sale in the Brewery Museum in 500ml bottles.
- Belhaven Best
- Nowhere Pale Ale
- Twisted Grapefruit IPA
- Old Speckled Hen is a popular bitter, available both as a cask ale and pasteurised in bottles. First brewed in 1979 by Morland Brewery in Abingdon, Oxfordshire to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the MG car company setting up in Abingdon, and named after the MG factory's MG car - the paint splattered Owld' Speckled 'Un. Brewed since 1999 by Greene King. Greene King has retained the strain of yeast first used in 1896. Old Golden Hen has received a coveted Monde Selection Award at the 2012 World Quality Selections. By receiving this award, the Old Golden Hen became the third and final member of the Old Speckled Hen family to win a Monde Selection quality award. In 2008, Greene King released a vintage oaked, super premium version of Old Speckled Hen, named Old Crafty Hen (6.5%).
- Hen's Tooth - A 6.5% bottle conditioned beer.
- Tanners Jack - abv 4.4% - Regularly seen across the country as a guest beer, often found in Wetherspoons, like many Greene King beers. Also available in 500ml bottle.
- Morland Original - abv 4.0% - Not seen as much as it was but often pops up in the old Morland heartlands. Also available in 500ml bottle.
- Old Bob - Still popular in Essex despite the beer's new journey from Bury St Edmunds; it is 5.1% and available both on cask and bottled.
- Ruddles County - A 4.7% bitter available on cask nationally.
- Ruddles Best Bitter - A 3.7% session bitter with national distribution.
- Ruddles Orchard - This 4.2% cask bitter consists of Ruddles County with the addition of apple concentrate. Also available pasteurised in bottles.
In March 2016, Greene King won Best Managed Pub Company (51+ sites) at the 2016 Publican Awards. Greene King's chief executive, Rooney Anand, also won Business of the Year Award at the Publican Awards 2016. In March 2017, Greene King Pub Partners won Best Tenanted & Leased Pub Company (201+ sites) at the 2017 Publican Awards.
- "Preliminary Results 2018" (PDF). Greene King. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
- Smyth, Rob (6 November 2014). "BUSINESS: A close look at Greene King's takeover of Spirit Pub Company". Burton Mail. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- Wilson, Richard.G. (1983). Greene King: A Business and Family History. London: Bodley Head. p. xi. ISBN 9780370305486.
- "MP of the Month:Edward Greene, brewer and businessman". Victorian Commons. 26 February 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- "Greene King: How a regional brewer became a national pub chain". East Anglian Times. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
- "Greene King to Buy Magic Pub in Britain". The New York Times. 19 June 1996. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- Roger Protz (18 September 2013). "Rooney Anand Greene King". Morning Advertiser. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- Jill Treanor (29 May 1999). "Morland brewery under threat as Greene King resurrects bid for rival". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- "Greene King starts Old English examination". M & C Allegra. 29 September 2001. Retrieved 26 February 2016.(subscription required)
- "Brewer buys pub chain for Ł67m". BBC News. 18 June 2002. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
- "Greene King snaps up Laurel pubs". The Guardian. 9 July 2004.
- "Historic brewer Ridley's to close". BBC News. 4 July 2005. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- "Greene King taking over Belhaven". BBC News. 22 August 2005. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- Katie Allen (15 June 2006). "Greene King buys Hardys & Hansons". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- "Greene King buys up seafood chain". BBC News. 7 August 2007. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- Hamish Champ (31 January 2011). "Greene King buys Cloverleaf Restaurants for £56m". Morning Advertiser. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- Nick Fletcher (27 April 2011). "Greene King expands presence in London with Realpubs purchase". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- "Greene King to buy Capital Pub Company". BBC. 19 July 2011. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- Yeomans, Jon (1 July 2015). "Greene King sales climb as it completes Spirit acquisition". The Telegraph. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- "Rooney Anand to step down as Greene King CEO after 14 years". The Caterer. 6 November 2018. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
- "Greene King pub giant snapped up by Hong Kong firm". 19 August 2019 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- Davies, Rob (19 August 2019). "Greene King to be sold to Hong Kong's richest family for £2.7bn" – via www.theguardian.com.
- Chambers, Sarah. "Greene King to be sold to Hong Kong property giant". Eastern Daily Press.
- Weinland, Don (21 August 2019). "Li family retreats to the pub in search for recession-proof assets". Financial Times. Retrieved 22 August 2019.
- "Greene King takeover approved by the Court". Food Manufacture. 30 October 2019. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
- "Beers and breweries". Greene King. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- Protz, Roger (2012). CAMRA's Good Beer Guide 2013. St. Albans: CAMRA. p. 882. ISBN 9781852492908.
- "Greene King: where next with strategy?". Hospitality and Catering News. 16 July 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
- "Pub signs of the times on show". Bury Free Press. 26 August 2008. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- Charlie Whitting (25 January 2017). "Greene King receives two apprenticeship accolades". Pubandbar.com. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
- Duncan Brodie (6 March 2017). "Bury St Edmunds-based Greene King pledges to continue effects to address skills shortage". East Anglian Daily Times. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
- Nicole Sutton (9 May 2016). "Greene King joins forces with Prince's Trust for new scheme". Morning Advertiser. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
- Liam Coleman (18 October 2016). "Greene King's scheme to bring 150 disadvantaged young people into the pub trade". Morning Advertiser. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
- Wilcock, Bryce (13 February 2017). "Greene King launches craft beer academy". BQLive. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
- Dominic Walsh (13 February 2017). "Apprentices are here for the trendier beers". The Times. Retrieved 10 May 2017.
- Nick Davies (3 November 2006). "Bonfire night protest turns heat on brewery". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- "Greene King boss faces a roasting". BBC News. 1 November 2006. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- "2017 Winners". Great British Pub Awards. 25 March 2013. Archived from the original on 3 January 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
- Yakub Qureshi (2 January 2014). "Lass O'Gowrie owner Gareth Kavanagh forced out by brewery Greene King for being 'below average'". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
- "Suffolk brewery accused of cultural vandalism after scrapping more than 200 traditional pub signs". ITV News. 7 June 2013. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- "Abbot Ale". Greene King. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- "Greene King Abbot Ale (Cask)". Ratebeer.com. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- "Brewing Process". Abbot Ale. Archived from the original on 9 November 2009. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- "Available in cask, bottle and can - Abbot Ale". abbotale.co.uk. Archived from the original on 9 November 2009. Retrieved 23 March 2011.
- "Greene King IPA". Greene King. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- "all you need to know about beer". beer-pages.com. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- Lewis, Robyn (26 March 2009). "Greene King trials IPA dual-pour font". Morning Advertiser. Retrieved 24 December 2017.
- Protz, Roger (23 March 2012). "Greene King goes for Gold with new IPA promotion – Protz On Beer, by Roger Protz". Protz On Beer. Retrieved 23 November 2017.
- "Greene King Strong Suffolk (Olde Suffolk)". Ratebeer.com. 20 March 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- "Greene King St Edmunds (Bottle)". Ratebeer.com. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- "Greene King XX Mild". Ratebeer.com. 27 October 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- "Hardys & Hansons Olde Trip (Cask)". Ratebeer.com. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- "Gold for Golden means quality is assured across 'Old Speckled Hen' range (24 May, 2012)". Greene King. 24 May 2012. Archived from the original on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- "Greene King Old Crafty Hen". Beer-pages.co.uk. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- "Morland Hen's Tooth". Ratebeer.com. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- "Morland Tanners Jack (Bottle)". Ratebeer.com. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- "Morland Original Bitter (Cask)". Ratebeer.com. 30 November 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- "Ridleys Old Bob (Bottle)". Ratebeer.com. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- "Ruddles County (Filtered)". Ratebeer.com. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- "Ruddles Best (Cask)". Ratebeer.com. 24 February 2015. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- "Ruddles Orchard (Bottle)". Ratebeer.com. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- "The King's English IPA". Ratebeer.com. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- James Evison (14 March 2016). "Publican Awards 2016: Best managed pub company (51+ sites)". Morning Advertiser. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
- Ben Winstanley (14 March 2016). "Publican Awards 2016: Business leader of the year". Morning Advertiser. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
- Ed Bedington (15 March 2017). "NWTC sweeps board at publican awards". Morning Advertiser. Retrieved 18 March 2017.