Fremlins Limited

Fremlins Limited

Fremlins was a brewery in Maidstone, Kent. The original brewery was founded on Earl Street, Maidstone in c.1790. It was bought by Ralph Fremlin in 1861, and he rebuilt the premises and expanded the production plant along the street. Fremlin took his three brothers, Richard, Walter and Frank into partnership, and the company became Fremlin Bros.

Ralph Fremlin did not approve of public houses on religious grounds, and he sold the ten premises associated with the brewery at that point. Instead, he produced bottled beer for the home trade, believing it could be consumed in moderation more easily, delivering bottles door to door by horse and cart. The beer was a success, and Fremlin’s expanded to produce lager and National Temperance Ale. The company was the first British brewery to mass produce beer in bottles and jars, which became a key factor in its growth.

Following Ralph Fremlin’s death in 1910, the brewery was briefly run by his brother Richard until his death five years later. In 1920 the company was incorporated as Fremlins Limited. The company reverted to the pub trade, buying up a number of smaller breweries in Kent. Fremlins had become Kent’s largest brewery by the mid-20th century, having acquired around 800 pubs and other licensed premises.

In 1967 Fremlins was acquired by Whitbread who closed the Maidstone brewery in 1972. The brewery was demolished in 1980 and the site is now occupied by a shopping centre.

Unusually, the early Fremlins overprints were printed in blue.