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Brewers' organisations

Country Brewers' Society (MSS.420/CB)

The Country Brewers' Society was formed in 1822. In 1904 it merged with two smaller organisations - the London Brewers' Society and the Burton Brewers' Society - to form the Brewers' Society.

The records of the Country Brewers' Society include a complete run of minutes, from the foundation of the CBS in 1822 to its dissolution in 1904; annual reports from 1882/3-1903/4; records relating to members' subscriptions; and reports of some local organisations from the 1880s-1900s.

Brewers' Society (MSS.420/BS)

The Brewers' Society was formed in 1904 as a result of the amalgamation of the Country Brewers' Society, the London Brewers' Society and the Burton Brewers' Society. Its aim was to promote the interests of the brewing trade.
In 1994 the Brewers' Society changed its name and expanded its remit to become the Brewers' and Licensed Retailers' Association (BLRA) - an organisation that represented owners of pubs and other beer retailers, as well as brewers. In 2001 the BLRA was renamed the British Beer and Pub Association.

The Brewers' Society archive contains over 400 boxes of documents, and relates to most aspects of the licensed trade during the 20th century. The archive includes minutes, financial records, documents regarding members' subscriptions, files on advertising and publicity campaigns (including copies of advertising material), and a series of subject files covering a wide range of issues. Examples of subjects covered include Beer Duty and taxation, hops, clubs, defence of the tied house system, involvement in Europe, exports, legislation, retail, state ownership, social problems, weights and measures, and production and supply during the Second World War.

National Trade Defence Association (MSS.420/NT)

In 1888 the National Trade Defence Fund was formed by representatives of the liquor trade in Britain and Ireland to combat Parliamentary opposition, teetotalism, Sunday Closing and the confiscation of licenses without compensation. The name of the organisation was altered to the National Trade Defence Association in 1890, and to the National Trade Development Association in 1958 (reflecting the changing work of the Association). The NTDA was dissolved on 2 December 1975, with all assets being transferred to the Brewers' Society.

The NTDA archive includes minutes from 1888-1975; annual reports for 1892-1971; financial records; "Replies of Parliamentary candidates to trade questions together with their election addresses and the result of polling in each constituency contested" for certain regions during the 1900 and 1906 general election campaigns; documents regarding the 1902, 1904 and 1908 Licensing Bills; copies of the publication 'Letter to Licensees', 1948-1973; and annual reports for certain NTDA districts for various dates between 1894-1968.

Brewing Patents Limited (MSS.420/BP)

Brewing Patents Limited was established by The Brewers' Society in 1954 in order to apply for and hold patents, grant licences to members of the Society to use the patents, and to receive any licence fees. The work of the company was later expanded to include a 'Patent Watching Service' and opposition to patents that might cause problems for members of the Brewers' Society.
In 1976 control of Brewing Patents Ltd was transferred from the Brewers' Society to the Brewing Research Foundation.

The records of Brewing Patents Ltd include a series of files relating to the formation and administration of the company, together with documents regarding patent applications.

Research Property Company Limited (MSS.420/RC)

Research Property Company Ltd (RPC), incorporated on 20 December 1960, was involved in property management. It was formed to enter into a ground lease and building agreement with Portman Estates in respect of No.41 & No.42 Portman Square, London W1; to acquire the old lease of No.41 from the Tailors' Union, demolish the old buildings, erect a new building, and let it to the best advantage. RPC later also acquired Donhead House in Donhead St Andrew, Wiltshire.
The company was connected with the Brewers' Society but (for tax reasons) was administered by the Institute of Brewing Research Fund. In December 1977, the properties managed by RPC were transferred to the ownership of the Brewing Research Foundation.

The RPC archive includes a series of files regarding the administration of the properties at 41-42 Portman Square between 1961-1984; together with documents relating to the formation and finances of the company.

Review Press Limited (MSS.420/RP)

Brewing Trade Review Limited was formed by the Country Brewers' Society in 1886 to produce a trade paper for the Society. Its name was changed to Review Press Limited in 1900. The company was taken over by the Brewers' Society in 1904, following the merger of the Country Brewers' Society with the London Brewers' Society and Burton Brewers' Society.

We hold a small collection of documents relating to Review Press Ltd, including a copy of the articles of association, 1934; minutes of directors' meetings and annual general meetings, 1886-1960; and miscellaneous financial records dating from 1886-1984.

Bedfordshire Brewers' Association (MSS.420/BB)

The Bedfordshire Brewers' Association was a local association affiliated to the Brewers' Society.

The Modern Records Centre holds two minute books for this association dating from 1886-1931.

Kent Brewers' Union (MSS.420/KB)

The Kent Brewers' Union was a local association affiliated to the Brewers' Society.

The Modern Records Centre holds an indexed letter book for the KBU, dating from 1909-1911. Annual reports for the KBU from 1891-1897 are included in the archive of the Country Brewers' Society.


Sources elsewhere:

Brewery History Society: The society for all interested in the history of British breweries.

National Brewing Library, Oxford Brookes University: Collections include the libraries of the British Beer and Pub Association (formerly the Brewers' Society), and the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (previously known as the Institute and Guild of Brewing), and publications deposited by the brewer Whitbread.

Scottish Brewing Archive: Archives, publications, ephemera and objects relating to the brewing industry in Scotland.

The History of Advertising Trust: Collections relating to the advertising industry. Their holdings include guard books for advertising campaigns run for the Brewers' Society by S.H. Benson Ltd. between 1954-1969.

Archives of individual companies can be located through the National Register of Archives, now incorporated into the National Archives catalogue (search for a company name under the 'record creators' section).