Major breweries UK – what brands do they own?

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There are Rumored to be more than 2,000 breweries across the UK some of which are classed microbreweries others macro breweries and everything in-between, which is categorized by the amount of beer they brew per year?

Before we get into the subject of who are the major breweries in the UK, lets dig deeper into the brewery market and what types of breweries (are there) of course the type and regulations change depending (in which Country you refer to).


What are the different types of breweries in the UK & USA?

In no particular order they are:

  • Nano Brewery – the smallest type of brewery that produces in batches of three barrels or smaller.
  • Craft Brewery / Microbrewery – small breweries and independent and produces less than fifteen thousand barrels of beer per year. Due to their smaller scale that use innovation to create a variety of different styles and types and smaller batches.
  • Brew Pub – a brewery that sells its own beer as well as other products such as food and can also include other breweries products. To simplify things a Brew pub is a brewery + restaurant. 25% or more of the product must be sold on the premise (USA regulation).
  • Contract Brewing company – a company that brews under license for a manufacturer sometimes used for extra volume and sometimes to have a brand produced in a certain Country which makes sense for the owner in regard to the Geographical supply chain strategy.
  • Macro breweries – macro breweries have annual production of over 6 million barrels of beer per year.
  • Farm Brewery (USA only) – a brewery that brews beer from a percentage of ingredients grown on the farm and can be 60% of the ingredients depending on the state. Farm breweries can generally sell their products to retailers and local pubs and restaurants.

It is helpful to understand that there are a large variety of different brewery types and how they are categorized which makes one appreciated the scale of the major breweries which have a number of different geographical strategic locations where they brew worldwide.

Other Categorization of breweries – UK

Another categorization of breweries classified in the UK would cover four categories which are:

  • International – mega breweries such as AbIn Bev, Molson Coors, Heineken, Carlsberg and Brewdog
  • National Breweries – Green King, Marstons, & Wells and Young
  • Regional Breweries – which are often owned by successive generations of a family
  • Microbrewery – as mentioned above

Major Breweries in UK

There are three breweries worldwide that operate over 50% of the brewery markets, which are Anheuser-Busch Inbev, Heineken & Carlsberg.

The Major breweries In the Uk are as follows:

  • Molson Coors – headquartered in Chicago also Toronto
  • ABInBev – headquartered in Leuven Belgium also in New York
  • Heineken – headquartered in Amsterdam Netherlands
  • Carlsberg – headquartered in Copenhagen – Denmark
  • Diageo – headquartered in London


Other major breweries based in or that also brew in the UK include the following:

Marstons PLC which in May 2020 have agreed a merger with Carlsberg.

Green King plc

Brew Dog Plc

Asahi Europe Ltd

Hall and Wood House Ltd

Shepherd Neame Ltd

What brands do the major breweries own?

The following is a selection of the better-known beer brands that the major breweries in the UK brew:

Molson Coors – brands brewed in the UK include-

  • Doombar
  • Starapramen
  • Allbright
  • Caffrey’s Irish Ale
  • Carling
  • Stones
  • Toby
  • Worthington
  • Cobra Beer
  • Coors
  • Hancock’s
  • Lamot
  • Arc
  • Breaker

AbIn Bev – own well over 500 brands and countless beer brands some of which include:

  • Becks
  • Budweiser
  • Corona
  • Modelo
  • Leffe
  • Stella
  • Hoegarden
  • Aguila
  • Bogota lager
  • Brahma
  • Castle lager
  • Cass
  • Harbin

Heineken –which owns a worldwide portfolio of over 170 beer brands some of which Include:

  • Heineken (of course)
  • Beamish
  • Sagres
  • Cruzcampo
  • El Leon
  • Krone
  • Spieler
  • Amstel
  • Windhoek


  • Carlsberg (of course)
  • San Miguel
  • Tuborg
  • Kronenburg
  • Baltika
  • Holsten
  • Tetley
  • Skol
  • Elephant Beer
  • Special Brew
  • Alivaria
  • Brooklyn ale
  • Koff

Diageo –  also the second largest spirit producer Worldwide

  • Guinness
  • Harp
  • Kilkenny
  • Redstripe
  • Smithwicks
  • Windhoek lager
  • Tusker

What is the size of the prize?

Looking at the sheer volumes of beer brewed on an annual basis there are as you would expect some impressive figures from the major breweries.

Just a word of warning these figures are not apples for apples for example as Molson Coors reports Europe brewing figures and AbIn bev reports EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) but the figures give you a good idea of the huge volumes the big breweries pump out on an annual basis.

Molson Coors – 22 million hectolitres in 2018, 5.561million hectolitres was brewed in Europe

AbIn Bev – in 2018 brewed 8.7 million in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) region

With recent events of the pandemic sales across brewers has declined during 2020, with brewers with no exposure in the retail trade such as microbreweries being hit particularly hard. We can only hope that they all survive and continue to grow and meet the ever popular demand for one of the oldest alcoholic drinks know to man.




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  1. Your website is very informative and well laid out, even though I don’t drink I did enjoy reading the article.


  2. Hello there, thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful piece of information here with us. I must say i really did enjoy going through this review of yours as it is very interesting to read through and also well laid out. I will be sharing this with my friend who asked me about something related to this, hopefully this will be of great help.

    1. Thank you for your comments Philjosh and good to hear you enjoyed the article. some great breweries that produce some great beer here and hope you and you friends enjoy some of them, cheers!

  3. This is  a really interesting article, it’s good to always update your brain, feed it something new and let it be well trained. It’s good to read about the major breweries in UK and the brands they own, it is very smooth to read through and I love how you have explained everything in details.

    1. Thanks for your comments Hanness and glad you enjoyed the article and hope you enjoy some of these beers mentioned also, cheers!

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