Peter McMullen, a Master Cooper by profession, started the business in 1827. He made barrels and casks selling them to the ten small brewing companies that were established in Hertford town at that time.
Although he built a very fine reputation for his business, he also acquired the dubious reputation for being a poacher - however, there does not appear to be much evidence to substantiate this!
He soon decided to go into brewing, starting in an outhouse adjacent to his cooperage before building and moving to a full scale commercial brewery known as the Mill Bridge Brewery less than three years later.
In those early days, Peter sold his beer to many pubs and individuals. It was not until Boxing Day 1836 that he bought his first pub, the Greyhound at Bengeo. The deal included three cottages on four acres of land at a consideration of £481.
In 1891 a new Brewery was built in the centre of Hertford along with the first well which was ‘sunk’ to a depth of 140 feet. It took nine days to complete the job and cost £93-18s-8d! Since then two more wells have been sunk going down some 250 feet, maintaining our own unique supply of natural water for our brewing operations.
1984 saw the construction of a large new state of the art brewery to supply the then growing demand for ale and lager from our many ‘free trade’ customers and our own pub estate.
In the mid 1990’s the consistent quality of our cask ales was recognised when we were presented with the first ‘Brewer of the Year’ award from the Parliamentary Beer Club. The following year our Country Best Bitter won the Gold Medal at the Industry’s International Awards.
2005 saw both the opening of our Training Centre and the Development Kitchen and being awarded first place In the National Industry Training Awards for having the Best Development Programme in Managed Houses.
In 2006 a new smaller brewery, the Whole Hop Brewery, was opened at a cost of £1m and surplus part of our site in the centre of Hertford was sold to Sainsburys, including both the old Victorian and 1984 breweries.
The Company now operates 49 Tenanted pubs and 86 managed outlets, including 7 of our Baroosh style bars the first of which opened in Hertford in 2000. All our pubs and bars are located in the northern Home Counties, from central London to Chelmsford in the East, to Windsor in the West and to Cambridge in the North.
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