In 1845, partnership papers between Fuller, Smith and Turner were officially signed – marking the start of something very special for London’s pub and beer scene.
However, the Fuller’s story had been brewing long before then.
In the late 1600s Thomas Mawson laid the foundations for a major brewing enterprise by buying The George public house in Chiswick and two adjoining cottages for £70, then later snapping up the brewhouse in Bedford House on Chiswick Mall too.
In 1816, the brewery first acquired the Griffin name and emblem that is synonymous with Fuller’s pubs to this day. Through some questionable decisions, the owners of at the time – Douglas and Henry Thompson – led the brewery to the brink of financial ruin. They needed investment, and fast.
Enter John Fuller
John Fuller was a wealthy country gentleman and he jumped at the chance to come aboard, investing primarily on behalf of his son. In 1839, John Fuller died and passed control to his son, John Bird Fuller. In 1845, he sought investment and expertise from third parties though, and John Smith – already helping to run a successful brewery elsewhere – was invited aboard. He invested on behalf of his son, Henry Smith, and his son-in-law, John Turner. So Fuller, Smith & Turner came into being.
London family brewer
Fuller’s had a string of successes with its cask ale range. It’s the only brewery to have won CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain prize for three different beers – Chiswick Bitter, ESB and London Pride.
In 2013, Frontier launched and a strong line of other keg beers followed – including Montana Red and Wild River.
In April 2019, The Fuller’s Beer Company was sold to Asahi Europe – who continue to brew many of these iconic beers at the Griffin Brewery in Chiswick. And you can still enjoy these great beers in a Fuller’s pub thanks to the strategic alliance between Fuller’s and Asahi that ensures Chiswick-brewed Fuller’s beers are on sale in our pubs. A successful pub business
Throughout its history, Fuller’s has continued to build an enviable estate of premium pubs and hotels that today numbers around 400. Nearly half of our pubs are tenanted pubs, run by a tenant or lessee as their own business, while the other half are owned and run by a General Manager, who is a paid employee of Fuller, Smith & Turner PLC.
The estate is predominately located in the South of England (44% of sites are within the M25) and stretches from our London heartland to the Jurassic Coast via the New Forest.
There have been a number of landmarks in Fuller’s story, particularly in recent years. In 1990 we purchased 44 outlets from Ind Coope, the pub division of Allied Breweries. In 1992, we opened the first Ale & Pie pub and in 2005, Fuller’s acquired Gales Brewery in Horndean, Hampshire – along with 111 pubs – a sea change moment in Fuller’s history.
In June 2018, we acquired Bel & the Dragon – six stunning country inns located in the Home Counties – and we opened the seventh, at The Red Lion in Wendover, in 2021 and the eighth, The George & Dragon at Westerham, in July 2022. In October 2019, we acquired Cotswold Inns & Hotels – seven stunning hotels.
Who knows what the future lies for our historic company. But if there’s one thing we do know, it is that Fuller’s never stands still for long and we’re sure the best is yet to come.