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What does £20m buy you these days? Doom Bar, that's what

From The Publican

By Hamish Champ , 07-Feb-2011

I've always been fascinated by the different values people give to things. In these hard economic times £20m would buy you less than half of a Fernando Torres, who recently swapped the red of Liverpool for the blue of the mighty Chelsea (although after his debut yesterday his value may have slumped somewhat).


For the same price Molson Coors UK has snapped up Cornwall's Sharp's Brewery and its cask and bottled beer brands, including - to name but one - the popular Doom Bar.


On one level it sounds a lot of money but on another it sounds remarkably good value, given the chunk of the cask ale market Molson Coors now finds itself happily exposed to.


Doubtless of most concern to Sharp's people is job security; Molson Coors has given assurances that it won't be closing down Sharp's Rock brewery site, nor will there be any job losses among the 80 or so staff who work there.


What happens next? The deal is a good one for Sharp's owners, Nick Baker and Joe Keohane, who bought the business more than seven years ago. It also appears to be a decent move for Molson Coors, adding a familiar cask ale name to its already not-unimpressive portfolio of beer brands, including Carling, Grolsch and Worthington.


With Molson Coors' marketing and distribution muscle Sharp's team will now be able to make inroads in the parts of the UK deemed too far to cover before. But could this be a double-edged sword?


Some of Sharp's brewing rivals, both locally and further afield, think so. They see their niche USP being emboldened by Sharp's tie-up with a brewing behemoth.


It's all very well selling Doom Bar into as many of the right pubs as possible. But growing the brand beyond its niche popularity while avoiding it becoming a ubiquitous (aka boring?) presence will test Molson Coors' marketing skills to the limit.

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