Twin brothers, Kenny and Keith Meekins, have retired after a life-long career at local pub company and brewer, Greene King. The pair joined Greene King in the mid-1970s and together they have accomplished almost 86 years’ service.
Kenny Meekins was the first of the twins to join in 1973, working on Greene King’s mineral line where he bottled the brewer’s lemonade. His brother, Keith, soon realised he’d also like to work for the company and began his career a year later.
Kenny and Keith are mirror twins, where when facing each other, they appear as matching reflections. However, their occupations at Greene King haven’t been identical. After working on the mineral line, Kenny then became a drayman for 27 years, delivering beer to pubs across the region. His last stretch was 16 years in security. Meanwhile, Keith, a butcher by trade, joined Greene King in 1974. After working as a fork lift driver for two years, Keith was thrilled to get the job he really wanted – also to work on the drays.
Fondly remembering those days, Keith said: “Being a drayman in the 70s and 80s was the best. The camaraderie was great, we all stuck together. The landlords and ladies always looked after us. We’d always have a full English breakfast waiting for us in the morning. Sometimes I’d go home and my wife would serve me dinner but I’d already had three courses during the day!”
Keith also spent 18 years of his career driving an articulated lorry, taking Greene King beers to its depots across the country.
Although both brothers had a spell working on the drays delivering beer, they didn’t often work together. Kenny recalls: “Many of the landlords and ladies around the region knew both of us well but never saw us together. I remember the reaction of the landlady of the Six Bells in Great Cornard when she saw us together for the first time. She said she thought she’d had a good night last night, but didn’t know it was that good – she thought she was seeing double!”
Kenny was a great ambassador for Greene King and was often known to dress up as an abbot to promote the company’s premium beer, Abbot Ale. He once took a penalty at Ipswich Town Football Club dressed in the abbot’s attire.
Looking back at his career at Greene King, Kenny said: “Greene King has been a fantastic company to work for. They’ve been good to me and hopefully they feel I’ve been good for them.”
Greene King’s chief executive officer, Rooney Anand, said: “We are very lucky at Greene King to have family members who spend their working lives with us. Kenny and Keith are so well known around the brewery and offices in Bury and will certainly be missed. I’d like to thank them for their loyalty and dedication over, what is collectively, 86 years’ service! I hope they enjoy their well-deserved retirement.”
The Meekins brothers plan to spend much of their retirement together. Kenny said: “We are twin brothers but we are also best mates. We work hard and we play hard. Now we’ll have a bit more time to play! I hope to go out on my mountain bike more often and when the spring comes, do a bit more gardening…if my wife lets me!”
Kenny and Keith’s mother worked at the brewery during the war, and Kenny’s wife Gill is a supervisor in the facilities department who will continue to work at the company.