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About Us


The history of Whitbread

Established in 1742, Whitbread is one of the UK’s oldest and well-respected companies.

The story really begins in August 1720 with the birth of Samuel Whitbread, who began his brewing apprenticeship in 1736, then founded his first brewery six years later.

Household name

In 1750 Samuel Whitbread created the first purpose-built mass-production brewery in the UK, when he moved his brewing operations to Chiswell Street on the eastern rim of Georgian London. Over the following years, Whitbread became a household name throughout the country.

Whitbread reinventing for the 21st century

In 2001 we became the company we are today. We sold our breweries and left the pub and bar business, refocusing on the growth areas of hotels and restaurants. Our reinvention as the UK's leading hospitality business naturally coincided with the ending of this country’s brewing and pub-owning tradition, started by Samuel Whitbread over 250 years earlier.

UK’s no.1 brands

Now UK’s biggest hospitality company, we’ve got the UK’s no. 1 hotel brand, Premier Inn and the no.1 coffee shop brand, Costa. We’re also very proud of our much-loved restaurants, Brewers Fayre, Beefeater Grill and Table Table.

True to our founding spirit

Although our core businesses have changed over the years, we remain true to Samuel Whitbread’s founding spirit to put our people first and customers at the heart of everything we do, all the while looking at ways to innovate to stay ahead.

Key dates

2016 Whitbread acquires 49% stake in London based company, Healthy Retail Ltd, trading as ‘Pure’.
2015 Andy Harrison retires as CEO and is replaced by Alison Brittain
2014 Premier Inn launches 'hub by Premier Inn'
2014 Costa launches Old Paradise Street no.3 - the first new coffee blend for more than four decades
2012 100th Costa store in China and 50,000 rooms in Premier Inn UK
2011 Acquisition of Coffee Nation and launch of Costa Express brand
2010 Alan Parker retires as CEO and is replaced by Andy Harrison
2009 Launch Good Together CSR programme
2008 First international Premier Inn hotel
2007 Sale of David Lloyd Leisure
2007 Sale of TGI Fridays
2006 Sale of 50% shareholding in Pizza Hut UK Ltd
2006 Sale of 239 pub restaurants to M&B
2005 Sale of Marriott business
2004 Acquisition of Premier Lodge hotels
2003 Acquisition of Cannons Health & Fitness BV (Netherlands)
2002 Sale of Pelican and BrightReasons
2001 Sale of Pub and Bars
2000 Sale of Beer Company & Acquisition of Swallow Group PLC
1995 Acquisition of Costa Coffee
1974 Open first Beefeater
1987 Open first Travel Inn
1868 Introduces bottling of beer to become national brand
1750 Samuel Whitbread moves to Chiswell Street
1742 Samuel Whitbread starts brewing beer