Fuller's is London's only remaining traditional brewery, and beer has been brewed on Fuller's Chiswick site for over 350 years - as far back as the era of Oliver Cromwell. From the original brewery in the gardens of Bedford House on Chiswick Mall, the business expanded and thrived until the early part of the nineteenth century, when money problems forced the owners, who were then Douglas and Henry Thompson and Philip Wood, to seek a partner.
John Fuller, of Neston Park, Wiltshire was approached to see if he would inject the required amount of money into the business. In 1829 he joined the enterprise, but the partnership proved a difficult one and in 1841 Douglas Thompson fled to France and the partnership was dissolved.
It soon became apparent that it was impossible for one man with no brewing experience to run a brewery of that size alone, so in 1845 John Fuller's son, John Bird Fuller, was joined by Henry Smith from the Romford Brewery of Ind & Smith and his brother-in-law, Head Brewer John Turner, thereby forming Fuller Smith & Turner, as the company is still known today.
Since that date the Griffin Brewery has gone from strength to strength. In 1909 the Beehive Brewery in Brentford was acquired, along with its 34 pubs. In 1929, 100 years after the first Fuller had come to Chiswick, the partnership was dissolved and a Limited Company was formed. Descendants of those first partners are still heavily involved in the day to day running of the company.
Over the years Fuller's has built up a reputation for running great pubs and brewing outstanding beers, with the likes of London Pride, ESB and 1845 all winning numerous awards. In fact, three of Fuller’s beers – London Pride, ESB and Chiswick Bitter – have been named the Campaign for Real Ale’s Champion Beer of Britain, a feat unmatched by any other brewery.
Our constant goal is to develop a strong portfolio of beer brands, fit for today's markets - and tomorrow's. We do this through a combination of market insight, imagination and brewing skill. The result is an enviable range of premium beers and brands, covering a spectrum of customer tastes, from market-leading, high quality traditional ales, to innovative brews for those just discovering the wonderful world of beer; from refreshing quaffing beers to strong, matured ales that connoisseurs sip and savour. What unites these beers is their undoubted quality and flavour, and the care and support given to them through their branding, packaging and marketing activity. Every year, we invest significant sums in advertising and promotion of our range, and in ensuring that our beers taste on top form right the way through, from grain, to glass.
Our heritage plays a large part in how we brew and trade today. Fuller’s is proud to be brewing in London and we are proud of the part we have played in the history of London as a whole. The last 30 years has seen most of the historic breweries of London closing, however during the last 10 years there has been a mini renaissance of craft Brewers in London. Fullers are proud to be able to be a part of this group of London brewers now known as the London Brewer’s Alliance and we were pleased to host the inaugural meeting here at the Griffin brewery.
A large part of the historic early Victorian brewhouse, part of John Fuller’s original investment, can be viewed proudly preserved within our current brewhouse and was the guiding format for the current brewhouse design.
Within the brewery records store we have original brewing log books dating from the latter part of the 19th century. Our brewers still refer to and draw upon the knowledge, recorded in beautiful copperplate handwriting, contained within these magnificent leather-bound books for inspiration in today’s brews. This year saw the launch of our Past Masters series of special brews. These beers brewed using as close as we can achieve the methods and materials available to the brewers of yesterday have wonderfully encapsulated the taste of yesteryear.
In November 2005, Fuller’s announced the largest deal in the history of the Company acquiring George Gale & Co Ltd (Gales), of Horndean, Hampshire. The Gales deal added 111 houses to the estate taking the total number of pubs to over 360. It also means that a great range of beers, including the award-winning HSB and Festival Mild have been added to the ale portfolio.
Now brewed in Chiswick to original recipes and with the Gales yeast, the Gales range of beers have gone from strength to strength under Fuller's stewardship. The world-renowned Prize Old Ale gains new fans with every release and in March 2009 Gales Seafarers Ale was added as a permanent fixture in the ale portfolio, and has seen phenomenal success since.
Continuous investment in the Company will help Fuller's to develop and grow, maintaining its position as the benchmark in retailing and brewing by delivering Quality, Service and Pride in everything we do.
As one of London's enduring landmarks, The Griffin Brewery is open to the public for organised tours. To see at first-hand how traditional methods meet modern equipment to create such wonderful brews, a visit to the Brewery Tours section of this site will tell visitors all they need to know. Once here, a visit to the Brewery Shop is also a must for every ale aficionado.