By: Chris Brook-Carter - 27 July 2005 09:49
It was 1961 when the merger of three major UK brewing and pub-owning companies, Ind Coope, Tetley Walker and Ansells, led to the creation of Allied Breweries. Since then, the company has changed shape and direction across each of the decades it has been in existence. Finally, in 1999, following the disposals of Cantrell & Cochrane, Panrico Donuts and its UK pub business, Allied Domecq morphed into the company we came to know in the new millennium.
It took its place as the world’s second largest wine and spirits group, behind Diageo, in a world where category sales were growing and consolidation was rife. But, the truth was that, under the direction of CEO Philip Bowman, Allied was always being groomed for a sale to the highest bidder. It was this fact that ultimately characterised the group in its final years.
For most, the surprise is not that Allied has sold out, but that it has taken this long to happen.
Despite its international portfolio and Spanish name, there was always something quintessentially British about the group, with its portfolio of brands such as Lamb’s Navy Rum, Beefeater, Harvey’s Bristol Cream and Teachers that practically screamed “God Save the Queen”; its base in the South West of England, away from the ugly dealings of the City; and its underdog image among investors, battered but never quite beaten.
Our enduring memories of Allied at just-drinks, though, will be of good stories, excellent drinks and some great friends.
Good luck to everyone at Allied Domecq, whether you are moving to Pernod, Fortune or pastures new. It is certainly the end of an era.
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