BURY ST. EDMUNDS, England - In this Suffolk County town, beer is king - Greene King, to be exact.
Benjamin Greene first arrived in Bury in 1799, at the ripe age of 19. He'd learned the art of making beer in London and aimed to set out on his own. But, knowing he'd need financing, he partnered with a local banker, William Buck.
Together, they bought a local brewery that had been in place since 1700 and took control of the establishment. Only one of Greene's eight surviving children, his third son Edward, decided to carry on the brewing tradition.
In 1836, Edward Greene assumed control of the business from his now-wealthy father and doubled the business in size. Not only that, he ensured the welfare of his employees by providing them each a home and a pension.
As the years went by, a local farmer by the name of Fred King opened his own brewery. But time soon proved the town wasn't big enough for both, and they merged together in 1887 to become Greene King, combining the family names.
Today, the company continues to brew cask-conditioned - or "real," if you ask the locals - ale, not lagers more commonly found throughout the world, especially the United States.
Domestically, Greene King owns 2,500 pubs throughout the UK and sells to wholesalers and retailers, making it the nation's largest brewer. The brand's 40 varieties of beer produced throughout the year are also distributed internationally to 50 countries, with the United States representing the major export center.
Greene King also owns a brewery in Scotland, but the production processes are kept completely separate. Any Greene King beer purchased anywhere in the world would have been produced at the Bury St. Edmunds location.
One may think it would be difficult for such a relatively small facility to produce that much beer, but the brewery is capable of producing 25,000 500-milliliter bottles in just one hour. In a year, more than 500,000 barrels of beer are producing, equating about 3 million pints of beer a week.