The image above, taken from the 1978 edition of Whitbread’s official history booklet, Whitbread’s Entire, captures perfectly, we think, the aristocratic manner of the families behind Big Brewing in Britain in the post-war period.
Watneys was also run by members of several wealthy families, and the company was proud of it. Sanders Watney (Winchester, Trinity College Cambridge) founded the British Driving Society in 1957, and Nick Handel, whose father, E.C. ‘Ted’ Handel was Director of Public Affairs at Watneys from the late sixties, told us:
Every year, my father arranged for him to drive the Red Rover stagecoach from London to Southampton, changing horses at all the local pubs with stables. This made great copy for the local press.
These days, it seems, to us, breweries are more likely to play down any sense of inherited wealth in their PR, though photographs of brewery directors in tailored suits, blazers or tweed, looking rather like minor royals, do occasionally crop up in trade publications. They are very rarely astride horses, though.