Whitbread was born in Cardington, Bedfordshire on 17 January 1764, to Samuel Whitbread, the brewer, and his first wife Harriet Hayton. He died on 6 July 1815 in London. Whitbread's mother died six weeks after giving birth to him, and he and his two elder sisters were brought up by their father and stepmother in Bedfordshire, at his father's properties in Cardington and later at Bedwell. Samuel Whitbread the elder had founded his first brewery in 1742, and in 1750 founded the first industrial brewery on Chiswell Street in the City of London. The elder Whitbread's success lay in his ability to mass-produce the increasingly popular drink, Porter, and through hard work and determination he had created a strong and wealthy business. Whitbread's father was keen for his son to follow him into the brewery, and to this end he set up his son as the major shareholder in the firm.
From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.