The brewing company of P. Phipps & Co. was established by Pickering Phipps in the West Northamptonshire town of Towcester in 1801. A second brewery was opened in Bridge Street, Northampton in 1817.
Pickering Phipps clearly prospered as he became mayor of Northampton in 1821. His two sons, Richard and Thomas, inherited the business on his death in 1830. All beer production was moved to Northampton in 1900 following a fire which destroyed the original brewery.
P. Phipps & Co. continued to expand under the stewardship of various family members. By the end of the 19th century the company had grown to become the largest brewer in the Midlands. It continued to expand in the first half of the 20th century, absorbing a number of other regional brewers.
In 1957 P. Phipps & Co. Ltd. merged with neighbours Northampton Brewery Co. Ltd. to become Phipps Northampton Brewery Co. Ltd. The newly merged company now owned a total of 1131 tied houses.
In 1960, London based brewer Watney Mann launched a successful bid for the business. The new owners’ key bitter “Red Bitter” was soon brewed in Northampton alongside the local beers. By 1968 all traditional draught bitters were axed and the company was renamed Watney Mann (Midland).