Simonds Brewery

Simonds Brewery was well known in the 19th and early 20th centuries and has its own Wikipedia page.  It was founded in Reading in 1785 by William Simonds.  The Brewery was situated on Bridge St, Reading and the building became a well-known landmark.  It became the largest brewery in Reading, and by 1938 was producing over 1% of all beer brewed in England & Wales. Below is a picture of it c1890.

Reading Brewery c1890.jpg

In 1960 H&G Simonds Ltd amalgamated with Courage & Barclay to become Courage, Barclay, Simonds & Co Ltd, until simplified to Courage Ltd in 1970.  However the large breweries were to come under pressure, and their businesses were about to change radically over the next 40 years.

First came the era of big conglomerates, and Courage was taken over by Imperial Group in 1972.  Then in 1978 a new brewery (called Worton Grange) was built at Shinfield (near Reading) to handle Courage’s Reading and London brewing operations, and the old Reading Brewery closed, to become the present-day Oracle Shopping Centre.

But then came the era of takeovers and corporate reconstructions:  In 1986, Courage was acquired by the Australian company that owned Fosters.  The pubs were hived off into a company called Inntrepreneur Estates, which was jointly-owned by Fosters and Grand Metropolitan, whilst the brewery was sold to Scottish & Newcastle. 

In 2008 Scottish & Newcastle was purchased jointly by Heineken and Carlsberg, and the brewery was closed in March 2010.