Some history of Frederick Smith Limited of Aston in Birmingham in the county of Warwickshire.


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.

Letterhead of Frederick Smith's Model Brewery at Aston [1913s]

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 on the Lichfield Road, on the south side, fairly close to Aston railway station.

Letterhead of Frederick Smith's Model Brewery at Aston [1950s]

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.

Etched Glass for Frederick Smith's Model Brewery at Aston

Continued expansion of the company 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.

Frederick Smith's Star Bright Ale [1950s Beer Label]

Frederick Smith's Nut Brown Ale [1950s Beer Label]

Frederick Smith's Star Bright Ale [Beer Label]

Frederick Smith's Nut Brown Ale [Beer Label]

Frederick Smith Pubs in Birmingham

Other Frederick Smith Pubs

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Related Newspaper Articles

"Amongst the growing industries of Aston that of brewing is undeniably pre-eminent, and despite the fact that the trade is ground down by prohibitive measures, Aston contrives to keep up the reputation of her ales. Among the big breweries of the Manor the Aston Model Brewery, owned by Mr. Fred Smith, occupies a front position, not only by reason of its commanding situation, the excellent quality of its product, and an inspection of the new premises will afford instruction to those who are so favoured. We append a short description of the new premises. On passing through the new and elegant offices we reach the yard, on the left hand of which is the new malting, a four storey building of plain but tasteful design. This malting is capable of producing 5,000 quarters of malt per annum. On entering the building we see No.1 malting floor, which is capable of producing 30 quarters at a time. A similar room is on the 3rd storey. On the second floor one of the most original ideas is seen in the shape of a malt room built round the kiln, and kept at a high pressure for the purpose of keeping the malt dry. This kiln is loaded by elevators, an endless chain of buckets which revolve continuously by means of a steam engine. The kiln itself is sufficiently large to dry 60 quarters at a time. The greatest novelty, however, are the steeps, or large cisterns, both capable of steeping 30 quarters. At the expiration of the time when the barley is sufficiently moistened by the turn of a wheel the bottom part of these steeps are opened, and the malt is precipitated into another room prepared for its reception. By means of the elevators the kiln can be loaded at the rate of 30 quarters per hour, a fact conclusive in itself to show the vast superiority of the new over the old, and in most cases laborious methods. Mr. Smith's business is rapidly increasing, so much so that despite the recent alterations another plot of land contiguous to the brewery has been bought in the event of further additions to the already "Model" Brewery."
"The Aston Model Brewery"
Harborne Herald : November 19th 1892 Page 5


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