Vintage - Bass Tap Handle

Measures 13 1/2" long!

The Bass & Co Brewery was established by William Bass in 1777 and was one of the first breweries in Burton upon Trent. Prior to establishing his brewery, Bass transported ale for another brewer by the name of Benjamin Printon; Bass sold this carrier business to the Pickford family, using the funds to establish his own brewery.

Early in the company's history, Bass was exporting bottled beer around the world with the Baltic trade being supplied through the port of Hull. Growing demand led to the building of a second brewery in Burton upon Trent in 1799 by Michael Bass, the founder's son, who entered into partnership with John Ratcliff. The water produced from boreholes in the locality became popular with brewers, with 30 different breweries operating in the mid-19th century. Michael's son, another Michael, succeeded on the death of his father in 1827, renewed the Ratcliff partnership and brought in John Gretton, and created the company of 'Bass, Ratcliff and Gretton' as it traded in the 19th century.

The opening of the railway through Burton in 1839 led to Burton becoming pre-eminent as a brewing town. In the mid-1870s, Bass, Ratcliff and Gretton accounted for one third of Burton's output, and the strong export market meant that Bass could boast that their product was available "in every country in the globe". The company became a public limited company in 1888, following the death of Michael in 1884, who was succeeded by his son, another Michael, later Lord Burton.

Both Michael Bass and Lord Burton were considerable philanthropists with extensive charitable donations to the towns of Burton and Derby. Early in the 20th century, in a declining market, many Burton breweries closed down. The numbers fell from twenty in 1900 to eight in 1928. Bass took over the breweries of Walkers in 1923, Worthington and Thomas Salt in 1927 and James Eadie in 1933.

Bass was one of the original FT 30 companies on the London Stock Exchange when the listing was established in 1935.[14] Over the next half-century, Bass maintained its dominance in the UK market by the acquisition of other brewers such as Birmingham-based Mitchells & Butlers (1961), London brewer Charringtons (1967), Sheffield brewer William Stones Ltd (1968) and Grimsby-based Hewitt Brothers Limited (1969) (with the overall company being known as Bass, Mitchells and Butlers or Bass Charrington at various times).

By the end of the 20th century, following decades of closures and consolidation, Bass was left with one of the two large breweries remaining in the town. It also had substantial holdings in hotels, now owned by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). The Mitchells and Butlers name lives on as the company that retained the licensed retail outlet business when it was separated from the Six Continents plc company (the successor to Bass plc) in 2003.

Item ID: 3224


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