Frederick Smith started his own brewery when he was just 21. He was however part
of a family rooted in the industry of beer production. His father, William
Smith, was a master cooper before buying a beer shop in Gosta Green. A
successful publican, William was able to establish his own brewery in Aston.
This was called The Model, the original brewery of this name. However, this was
not the Model Brewery operated by son Frederick. When William Smith died in 1878
and, in order to provide for a widow and eight children, the business, including
the Queen's Hotel, Brewery and Maltings, was sold off. Although the brewery was
bought by the Atkinson brothers, two of William Smith's eldest sons, Thomas and
Henry, were able to buy two of their father's pubs for themselves. Frederick
Smith was only 18 years old and took the experience he had gained working with
his father and became an employee at Atkinson's. After two more years of
valuable training and experience, he went independent on August 18th 1880 by
acquiring the neighbouring Victoria Brewery. These premises were further down
the Lichfield Road in Aston.
Frederick Smith was a very astute businessman and
he was able to expand the business. By 1888 he had purchased adjoining land and
built a larger brewery to supply an increasing number of outlets. This was
called the Aston Model Brewery. In 1892 he built a sixty-quarter malt house and
three years later the business was registered as a limited company. Continued
expansion included the acquisition of more public houses and an extension to the
brewery. A bottling plant was added around 1898. To ensure continuity of the
business, Frederick Smith sent his eldest son Frederick to study at the Brewing
School of the University of Birmingham. Younger son Sydney meanwhile
concentrated on looking after the brewery’s tied house estate. The brewery was
significantly improved in 1922. In addition to new brewing plant, a fresh
artesian well was sunk to increase the online volume of the noted Aston water.
In 1927 King George V knighted Frederick Smith for his services to the
communities of Aston and Birmingham. The company was acquired by
William Butler's Springfield Brewery of
Wolverhampton in 1955. The fine etched glass window [below] for the Smith's
Model Brewery can be found at The Model public house, formerly the Queen's Head
in Langley Green.
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