Category Archives: Pub Owners

Pubs owned by breweries and PubCos.

The Pub Chain: Courage

The idle traveller around London is still frequently exhorted to “TAKE COURAGE” by pubs (fig. 34), and even occasionally other buildings which retain their old signage. This is, of course, no mere public-spirited advice; it is advertising. Where nowadays the imperative has been hijacked by Fuller Smith Turner’s brewers and amended to “Take Pride”,1 the original harks back to the brewery firm founded by John Courage in 1787.

The Amersham Arms (New Cross SE14)
Figure 34. The Amersham Arms (New Cross SE14).

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The PubCo: Mitchells & Butlers

Apologies for my very lax updating of this journal (except for the ‘recently visited pubs’ sidebar, which I keep religiously up-to-date). Let’s talk about PubCos now. I had been intending for some time to write about this, but it’s a very confusing area to distill down to a short blog post like this one — complicated not just by legal changes but by constant mergers and acquisitions, renamings and rebrandings amongst the key players. As a case study, I’ll look at Mitchells & Butlers.1

The majority of drinkers are likely to have been into a Mitchells & Butlers establishment at some point in their drinking lives (however recently they may have started), but very few will be aware of it. Pubs tied to breweries (discussed in an earlier post) are recognisable to all (see fig. 7 in that post). Yet M&B, like many larger public-facing companies, tends to subsume its own corporate identity in a variety of brands specifically targeted to various consumer demographics, and if that sounds rather dull and lifeless then you’ll probably find their brands to be likewise. M&B own All Bar One, O’Neill’s, Nicholson’s, Ember Inns, Harvester and a variety of other outlets.

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