The famous Domesday Book chronicles "cerevisiarii" or ale brewers as servants of the Abbot in the town’s Great Abbey. The Greene King brewery sits alongside the historic ruins of the Abbey and to this day our brewers still draw water from the same chalk wells used by brewing predecessors all those years ago.
It was Benjamin Greene who in 1799 first laid the foundations of the brewery now known as Greene King. On completion of his training as a brewer at Whitbread's in London, 19 year old Benjamin came to Bury St Edmunds, and bought the 100 year old Wright's Brewery here in Westgate Street, which was renamed Westgate Brewery. His house in Crown Street, just around the corner, had once been the home of Abbot Reeve, the last Abbot of Bury St Edmunds (after which Abbot is named). Benjamin went into partnership with the 60 year-old William Buck, who brought a lifetime's business experience into the partnership.
Benjamin had 13 children. Edward, his 3rd son, worked in the brewery from the age of 13 and took over the brewery from his father in 1836. Edward, or 'Old Ted' as he was affectionately known to his customers, spent his entire life running the brewery, he was also responsible for major expansion, including new maltings in 1845 and the demolition of the old family home in Crown Street to allow for further expansion. He doubled the workforce to 50 people and had 3 bedroomed houses built for his workers and he was also rightly proud of his pension scheme which set new standards in Bury St Edmunds.
In 1887 Edward joined forces with Fredrick King whose background was in farming and malting. Frederick, a rival brewer, owned the St Edmunds Brewery just on the other side of where our present brewhouse is situated, together they were known as Greene King and Sons soon became one of the most popular breweries in England.