The Boards of Liberation Group, the owners of Butcombe Brewery, have reached an agreement to buy eight pubs, which make up most of SA Brain’s English operation, for an undisclosed sum.
This move expands the Butcombe pub estate to 43 sites, and is the latest step in their strategy to become the leading West Country regional brewer and pub owner.
Rapidly expanding estate
Liberation Group CEO Mark Crowther commented: “The addition of these eight high-quality pubs to our portfolio further accelerates the growth of our rapidly expanding pub estate, strengthening our presence in our heartland around Bath and Bristol.
“These pubs are a perfect fit with our existing portfolio and will benefit from ownership by our fast-growing, market-leading regional brewery with its well-known brands. We welcome all those who work in those pubs and look forward to building a successful future together.”
The eight pubs acquired include six managed sites – the Smoking Dog in Malmesbury, Wiltshire; the Bear in Cirencester, Gloucestershire; the Bowl, which includes 11 bedrooms, in Almondsbury, Gloucestershire; the Ostrich in Bristol; the Jubilee in Flax Bourton, Somerset; and the White Horse in Buckover, Gloucestershire – and two tenanted pubs – the Langford in Lower Langford, Somerset; and the Old Station in Hallatrow, Somerset. Of these pubs, seven are freehold and one leasehold.
"Outstanding" prospects in Wales
Butcombe has more than doubled its pub estate in the West Country over the past year. In addition to expanding the number of quality pubs under its control, the brewer is also investing in its production infrastructure – upgrading its distribution, kegging, and bottling facilities – as well as expanding its range to include innovative new products such as golden ale Pioneer.
SA Brain’s decision to sell comes as part of a move to focus its licensed retail operations within Wales, where it operates 100 managed houses and a leased and tenanted estate of more than 70 pubs.
SA Brain CEO Scott Waddington said: “The sale of our English pubs is well timed, given the outstanding prospects we have to further grow our brand and pubs business in Wales.
“The rich affection with which our brand is held has further solidified our conviction to pursue our pub agenda inside Wales.
“We will remain very proud of the period of ownership we have enjoyed with the pubs that are being acquired by Butcombe and believe the team, with their West Country heartland, are well placed to take these businesses forward.”
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