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Shine on: Dark Star talks expansion plans

By Emily Sutherland contact

- Last updated on GMT

Dark Star will focus on small, wet led pubs
Dark Star will focus on small, wet led pubs

Related tags: Dark star, Beer, Brewery, English-language films

It’s been an impressive journey for Dark Star, going from a tiny brew plant in the cellar of a Brighton pub to a successful craft brewer on the brink of rolling out 20 pubs.

With two pubs already under its belt- Brighton’s the Evening Star and The Partridge in Partridge Green- and the papers almost signed for a third in Haywards Heath, managing director Paul Reed says Dark Star is sticking to its vision of classic pubs and good beer.

“We’ve always wanted small wet led outlets. There was a blinding flash of the obvious that it’s actually the ground floor that does the business. We’re not really interested in car parks, letting rooms or big kitchens. We want small, wet-led pubs that are dominated by great beers and lagers.”

“Great beer is what we understand and hopefully the new venues will be full of people standing shoulder to shoulder drinking great beer and talking rubbish, rather than places for family meals.”

Reed hopes the Dark Star’s interest in high street pubs will, in its small way, help to revitalise the flagging Great British high street.

“We’re interested in high street sites that aren’t in shopping centres. High streets are dotted with empty shops as the traditional butchers or bakers are losing out to supermarkets. Small wet-led bars could be an exciting alternative to charity shops. De-stressing in a friendly environment of a small pub is something that can't be bought online or catered for by out of town retail parks.”

Although the brewery has outlined plans for twenty pubs, Reed stresses that there is no rush to hit that figure.

“Around 20 is the kind of figure we think we could manage, but getting there will take as long as it takes. We don’t want to feel pressure to take sites that might not be perfect. It’s much more important that we find the right sites that work for us rather than trying to hit a target.”

In an industry where secrecy over new sites is rampant, Dark Star’s candour about the kind of pubs and locations they’re looking for (Brighton, Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill are all on the hit list) has had some unexpected advantages.

“We’ve been really lucky because we haven’t been at all secretive about our future plans. There’s been a lot of interest and a really high calibre of people approaching us and saying they’re really interested in working with us.”

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