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Bass

Bass

Bass is the name of a former brewery and the brand name for several English beers brewed in Burton upon Trent. Bass is most particularly associated with their pale ale. The distinctive Red Triangle logo for Bass Pale Ale was Britain's first registered trademark.

The Bass & Co Brewery was established by William Bass in 1777 and was one of the first breweries in Burton upon Trent. Early in the company's history, Bass was exporting bottled beer around the world with the Baltic trade being supplied through the port of Hull. Growing demand led to the building of a second brewery in Burton upon Trent in 1799 by Michael Bass, the founder's son. The water produced from boreholes in the locality became popular with brewers, with 30 different breweries operating in the mid 19th centuries.

By the end of the 20th century, closures and consolidation had left Bass with one of two large amalgamated factories remaining in the town. It also had substantial holdings in hotels, now owned by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).

Over the years of its ascendancy, Bass maintained its dominance in the UK market by the acquisition of other brewers such as Mitchells & Butlers (1961), Charringtons (1967) and William Stones Ltd (1968) (with the overall company being known as Bass, Mitchells and Butlers or Bass Charrington at various times). The Mitchells and Butlers name lives on as the company that retained the licensed retail outlet business when it was separated from the Six Continents PLC company (the successor to Bass PLC) in 2003.

Bass PLC was bought by the Belgian brewer Interbrew (now InBev) in June 2000. After the UK Government considered the potential monopoly situation[1], Interbrew disposed of Bass Brewers Limited to Coors (now Molson Coors Brewing Company) but retained the rights to Bass beer production. The beer was produced under licence by Coors, which retained the Bass brewing capacity; Bass Brewers Limited was renamed to Coors Brewers Limited. The production licence came to an end in 2005, and the licence to brew Draught Bass has been taken up by Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries PLC, who started production at the Marston's Brewery, also in Burton.

Next to the brewery, the Bass Museum of Brewing, recently renamed as 'The Coors Visitor Centre', is Burton upon Trent's largest tourist attraction, presenting the history of brewing in the town.

Bass was a pioneer in international brand marketing. The Bass Red Triangle is one of the world's oldest logos and was the first trademark to be registered in Britain. The 1875 Trademarks Registration Act came into effect on the 1 January 1876 and that New Year's Eve, a Bass employee waited overnight outside the registrar's office, in order to be the first in the queue to register a trademark the next morning. In fact Bass got the first two registrations, the first being the Bass Red Triangle for their pale ale and the second the Bass Red Diamond for their strong ale.


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