Greene King

Greene King
Public company
Traded as LSE: GNK
Industry Alcoholic beverage
Founded 1799
Headquarters Bury St Edmunds, England
Key people
Tim Bridge, (chairman)
Rooney Anand, (CEO)
Products Beer
Revenue £1,315.3 million (2015)[1]
£256.2 million (2015)[1]
Profit £89.3 million (2015)[1]

Greene King is the UK's largest pub retailer and brewer.[2] It is based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England. The company owns pubs, restaurants and hotels. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.


Greene King plaque on the side of a pub in Sudbury, Suffolk

The brewery was founded by Benjamin Greene in Bury St. Edmunds in 1799.[3] In 1806 Benjamin Greene established a new venture with William Buck at the Westgate Brewery.[4] In 1836 Edward Greene took over the business and in 1887 it merged with Frederick William King's brewing business to create Greene King.[5]

Greene King has grown via mergers and acquisitions, including Rayments Brewery (1961),[6] the Magic Pub Company (1996),[7] Hungry Horse (1996),[8] Morland Brewery (1999),[9] Old English Inns (2001),[10] Morrells (2002),[11] a large part of the Laurel Pub Company (2004),[12] Ridley's Brewery (2005),[13] Belhaven Brewery (2005),[14] Hardys and Hansons (2006),[15] the Loch Fyne fish restaurant chain (2007),[16] Cloverleaf (2011),[17] Realpubs (2011),[18] the Capital Pub Company (2011)[19] and the Spirit Pub Company (2015).[20]


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.[21][22]

The group operates 3,100 pubs, restaurants and hotels:[23]

Visitor centre

Greene King's Brewery Museum, shown in 2006
The Greene King main brewery, seen from Westgate Street.

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.[25] Visitors can also go on regular hour-long tours of the brewery, to see traditional brewing methods. All brewery tours end with a beer tasting session at the Greene King Brewery Tap.[26]


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.[27] The British consumer group CAMRA claimed that Greene King is in danger of becoming a monopoly by buying out other breweries and thus potentially limiting choice for the pub consumer.[28] The growing consumer reaction to this shift 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.[29]

In January 2014, popular Manchester pub The Lass O'Gowrie, voted "Best Pub in Britain" at the Great British Pub Awards in 2012,[30] 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.[31]

Greene King has also been criticised for removing many traditional and historic pub signs as part of rebranding schemes.[32]


Greene King

Abbot Ale

Hardy's and Hansons


Can of Old Speckled Hen



Ruddles County

Trader Joe's

In March 2016, Greene King won Best Managed Pub Company (51+ sites) at the 2016 Publican Awards.[53] Greene King's chief executive, Rooney Anand, also won Business of the Year Award at the Publican Awards 2016.[54]


  1. 1 2 3 "Annual Report 2015" (PDF). Greene King. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  2. "FTSE giants line up to tempt school-leavers with apprentice jobs". 2016-03-14. Retrieved 2016-03-22.
  3. 1 2 3 Smyth, Rob (2014-11-06). "BUSINESS: A close look at Greene King's takeover of Spirit Pub Company". Burton Mail. Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  4. "Benjamin Greene". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  5. "MP of the Month:Edward Greene, brewer and businessman". Victorian Commons. 26 February 2016. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  6. "Greene King: How a regional brewer became a national pub chain". East Anglian Times. 19 November 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  7. "Greene King to Buy Magic Pub in Britain". The New York Times. 1996-06-19. Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  8. Roger Protz (2013-09-18). "Rooney Anand Greene King". Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  9. Jill Treanor. "Morland brewery under threat as Greene King resurrects bid for rival | Business". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  10. "Greene King starts Old English examination". M & C Allegra. 29 September 2001. Retrieved 26 February 2016.(subscription required)
  11. "UK | Brewer buys pub chain for Ł67m". BBC News. 2002-06-18. Retrieved 2015-02-11.
  12. "Greene King in £654m pubs buy". This is money. 2004-07-09. Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  13. "UK | Historic brewer Ridley's to close". BBC News. 2005-07-04. Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  14. "Business | Greene King taking over Belhaven". BBC News. 2005-08-22. Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  15. Katie Allen. "Greene King buys Hardys & Hansons | Business". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  16. "Business | Greene King buys up seafood chain". BBC News. 2007-08-07. Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  17. Hamish Champ (2011-01-31). "Greene King buys Cloverleaf Restaurants for £56m". Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  18. Nick Fletcher (2011-04-27). "Greene King expands presence in London with Realpubs purchase | Business". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  19. "Greene King to buy Capital Pub Company". BBC. 2011-07-19. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  20. "Greene King sales climb as it completes Spirit acquisition". The Daily Telegraph. 2015-07-01. Retrieved 2015-08-25.
  21. "Beers and breweries". Greene King. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
  22. Protz, Roger (2012). CAMRA's Good Beer Guide 2013. St. Albans: CAMRA. p. 882. ISBN 9781852492908.
  23. "Greene King sales climb as it completes Spirit acquisition". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2015-09-02.
  24. 1 2 "Greene King: where next with strategy?". Hospitality and Catering News. 2014-07-16. Retrieved 2015-05-09.
  25. "Pub signs of the times on show". Bury Free Press. 2008-08-26. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  26. "Greene King Brewery & Museum". Suffolk tourist guide. Retrieved 10 March 2016.
  27. Nick Davies (2006-11-03). "Bonfire night protest turns heat on brewery". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  28. "Greene King - The Brewer CAMRA Loves To Hate | Ragtrader". Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  29. "Business | Greene King boss faces a roasting". BBC News. 2006-11-01. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  30. "Great British Pub Awards". 2013-03-25. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
  31. "Lass O'Gowrie owner Gareth Kavanagh forced out by brewery Greene King for being 'below average'". Manchester Evening News. 2014-01-02. Retrieved 2014-03-20.
  32. "Suffolk brewery accused of cultural vandalism after scrapping more than 200 traditional pub signs | Anglia - ITV News". 2013-06-07. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  33. "Beers & breweries - Our beers - Abbot Ale". Greene King. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  34. "Greene King Abbot Ale (Cask)". Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  35. "Brewing Process". Abbot Ale. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  36. "Available in cask, bottle and can - Abbot Ale". Retrieved 2011-03-23.
  37. 1 2 "Beers & breweries - Our beers - Greene King IPA". Greene King. Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  38. "all you need to know about beer". Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  39. "Greene King Strong Suffolk (Olde Suffolk)". 2015-03-20. Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  40. "Greene King St Edmunds (Bottle)". Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  41. "Greene King XX Mild". 2011-10-27. Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  42. "Hardys & Hansons Olde Trip (Cask)". Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  43. "Gold for Golden means quality is assured across 'Old Speckled Hen' range (24 May, 2012)". Greene King. Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  44. "Greene King Old Crafty Hen". Retrieved 2015-02-05.
  45. "Morland Hen's Tooth". Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  46. "Morland Tanners Jack (Bottle)". Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  47. "Morland Original Bitter (Cask)". 2014-11-30. Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  48. "Ridleys Old Bob (Bottle)". Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  49. "Ruddles County (Filtered)". Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  50. "Ruddles Best (Cask)". 2015-02-24. Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  51. "Ruddles Orchard (Bottle)". Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  52. "The King's English IPA". Retrieved 2015-03-28.
  53. James Evison (2016-03-14). "Publican Awards 2016: Best managed pub company (51+ sites)". Retrieved 2016-03-22.
  54. By Ben WinstanleyBen Winstanley, 14-Mar-2016 (2016-03-14). "Publican Awards 2016: Business leader of the year". Retrieved 2016-03-22.

External links

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