Courage & Co

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Courage & Co. Brewery was founded by John Courage in 1787, who bought a tiny brewery at Horselydown on the foreshore of the south bank of Thames. Courage initially named his property Anchor Brewery - a name that was already in use but Courage did not let that faze him.

Unfortunately, Courage passed away merely 6 years after he established his brewery and his son, who was also named John, did not succeed him until many years later. Courage’s wife Harriot took over for a while but passed just a few years later in 1797.

At the time, their children were still very young, so the company was in the hands of John Donaldson, the managing clerk. In that year, the company was renamed Courage & Donaldson. In 1811, Courage’s son John joined the company and eventually became the sole owner in 1851.
The company flourished under John’s care, with his strategic expertise in brewing and active acquisition of land, raw materials, and other products. In 1888, the brewery became a limited company, Courage & Co. and was producing over 300,000 barrels!

Unfortunately, in 1891, the brewery caught fire no thanks to a malt dust explosion and the brewhouse burned for several days. The brewery managed to pick itself up but as its buildings were still being reconstructed, it had to resort to buying beer from another brewery in order to meet the demands from its loyal customers.
Despite the fiery hiccup, Courage Brewery was still able to prosper, even through the two World Wars. The brewery did take a short hiatus during the second World War, given its prime location right smack in the middle of the blitz. It took some time to reconstruct the brewhouse so the brewery only reopened for business in 1954.

By then, it was the time for what was known as the merger mania - a period where several large brewing groups joined forces. Courage was not immune to this phenomenon, and it became Courage, Barclay, Simonds & Co Ltd for a short period of time.

Soon after, Courage would go through several acquisitions, eventually settling down under Wells & Young’s Brewing Company in 2007, which is now known as Eagle Brewery. Eagle Brewery has since been acquired by Marston's.

Courage & Co’s flagship beer

One of Courage & Co’s most popular beers is the Courage Director - a characteristic amber ale that was initially brewed at another brewery under a different name and was exclusively served to the directors of the brewery. One of Courage’s directors, Peter Rowe, felt that this premium cask ale should be shared with the world, so the brewery rebranded and released it as Courage Director.

The tasty ale is known for its distinctive hop aroma and its crisp, malt flavour, both of which contributed to its strong cult following.

Courage & Co today

Courage & Co started with one man’s dream. Though he passed before seeing his dream fully take off, it continues to live on to this day. The brewery’s widely loved beers are a testament to Courage & Co. Brewery’s commitment to bravely brewing exceptional beers to the best of its ability.
 

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