The new company brewed ale, and only switched to other beer types in the 1950s. The company acquired the license to manufacture and distribute Coca-Cola in the Channel Islands in 1952. In 1958 the company acquired the distribution license for Bollinger champagne for the islands.
It is believed that the Ann Street brewing operation was started by Mr J S Palmer in 1871. A year later he advertised in the British Press Almanac:
- "Ann Street Brewery. Mr J S Palmer (Maltster) having lately erected the above spacious and commodious premises is now prepared to supply Ales and Porter of superior quality equal to the best English brew. The above prime Ales may be had in bottles, pint or quart. A trial is solicited. Orders punctually attended to, note the address: Ann Street Brewery."
Six years after this advertisement appeared Mr Palmer had sold the business to McKay and Company, who advertised in the same Almanac:
- "McKay and Co beg to announce that they have commenced business as brewers at the Ann Street Brewery, St Helier, and are prepared to supply mild and bitter ales, equal to the best English makes at Jersey prices. Tonic Bitter Ale strongly recommended.
The business seems to have had a succession of owners, which can be traced through their advertisements in the British Press and Jersey Times Almanacs.
- 1881 - McKay, Vade and Co
- 1884-1887 - Pinel and Le Masurier
- "Export and Family Pale Ale and Stout Brewers. Ales and Stout brewed on the English Principle from the very best malt and hops available. Guaranteed absolutely pure, and warranted to keep sound on draught. Supplied in casks of all sizes and bottled in Barrett Patent Screw Stopped Bottles."
- 1887 - Le Masurier and Groizard
- 1888-1891 - H Le Masurier
- 1892 - R and J Gordon
- 1893-1894 Gordon and Gilbey
- 1894 - Inverness John Bathe and James Reginald Hole
On 23 September 1905 the existing owners formed Ann Street Brewery Ltd. Mr Hole's shareholding was disposed of after his death, opening up ownership of a share in the company to a number of islanders.
- 1947 Mr Bathe dies and his interest in the company was inherited by his son Grevelle Inverness Bathe
Among the founder members of the board of the company in 1905 were F J Bois, Deputy of St Saviour and father of the future Deputy Bailiff, Frank de Lisle Bois, and W H Dickinson of the Jersey Railways and Tramways. The secretary, P P Payn, eventually became managing director, and was instrumental in buying 15 hotels and inns in 1923 which formed the basis of the company's diversification into ownership of bars and public houses.
Ann Street remained a modest-sized business into the early 1970s. A turning point for the group came in 1971, when Ian Steven took over as the company's lead. Under Steven, Ann Street began developing its pub estate holdings, which grew to more than 100 across the Channel Islands. The company also entered the French market, acquiring L'Abeille, that country's leading supplier of private-label soft drinks for the French supermarket sector. Into the 1990s, Ann Street, which was listed on the London Stock Exchange's main board, began seeking an extension onto the English mainland, building up a pub estate in southern England. In 2000 the company moved bought the Brubeckers restaurant chain.
This development came in part because of a steady decline in the tourism market on the Channel Islands. The changing economic climate on the Islands encouraged Ann Street to increase their scale at the end of the 20th century.
Tom Scott, an English expatriate who had relocated to the island to escape British taxes in the mid-1980s, soon grew into a leading figure on the Channel Islands business scene, setting up a new business, CI Traders, which provided automotive financing, and acquiring a stake in Ann Street through another company. That shareholding gave Scott the executive chairman seat in the company.
In 2002, Scott led a three-way merger among Ann Street, Le Riches Stores, and his own company, bringing the brewer and pub owner under the CI Traders banner. The newly enlarged company then transferred its listing to the London exchange's AIM market, where it became one of that market's top five companies. Under CI Traders the company now shifted its emphasis onto its retail portfolio, selling off its mainland pub estate in order to step up its retail investments.
Ann Street took over the Tipsy Toad brewpub in 1997. Jersey Brewery and Tipsy Toad were relocated to the current site in 2004. In 2008, following a management buyout, the brewery came under the ownership of Liberation Group. Beers are currently branded as either Liberation or Mary Ann. In 2011 the brewery was renamed to Liberation but still use previous brand names.
- 1905: The Ann Street Brewery is founded.
- 1906: Public analyst produces excellent report on quality of beers
- 1923: First bars and hotels purchased
- 1926: First advertisement for famous Mary Ann beer
- 1927: Board reconstituted after death of I J Bathe. J R Woodman, managing director; W J Ralph, chairman
- 1930s: Brewery rebuilt
- 1952: Ann Street extends into soft drinks with a Coca-Cola franchise for the Channel Islands.
- 1958: Ann Street adds a distribution license for Bollinger champagne.
- 1971: Ian Steven becomes head of the Ann Street Brewery and leads its expansion as the Channel Islands' leading brewery and pubs group.
- 2000: Ann Street acquires the Blubeckers restaurant group in southern England.
- 2002: Ann Street merges with Le Riches Stores
- 2008: Management buyout
- 2011: Change of name to Liberation Brewery
- Diamond jubilee of Ann Street Brewery, from Jersey Topic magazine, 1965
Click on picture to see larger version
The brewery was housed in properties on both sides of Ann Street