Magic Rock founder ‘here for the long term’ after buyout

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

In for the long run: Magic Rock co-founder is invested in the business
In for the long run: Magic Rock co-founder is invested in the business

Related tags: Craft beer

Magic Rock co-founder and managing director Richard Burhouse intends to remain with the northern brewery indefinitely, he said following the sale of business.

Magic Rock was acquired for an undisclosed sum by Australian-based food and drink firm Lion Global Markets, in a deal announced today (29 March).

Burhouse, who founded the Huddersfield brewery in 2011 with business partner and head brewer Stuart Ross, said he wanted to remain with the business.

“I’m here for the long term, as far as I’m concerned, at least four years contractually, but hopefully many years afterwards,” he told The Morning Advertiser​.

“There’s nothing else I’m keen to get on with. I think it’s a good news story for the local crowd I’m born and bred and to get business like this in the local economy is an incredible source of pride.”

Magic Rock to expand

Lion’s investment will allow Magic Rock to expand its reach, production and portfolio, he continued, adding that it would also see a much-needed injection of new skillsets.

“We do lack some skills and infrastructure from a management or sales direction and those skillsets are not necessarily natural to me and we need help on how to push it forward,” added Burhouse.

He claimed that many people are oblivious to the fact craft breweries are founded and run by passion, which often meant there is no real business knowledge to grow.

“It means we’re going to be able to make more beer investment expansion and investment in people and skills, and the ability for us to access Lion’s expertise and people to allow us to grow,” he continued.

“When I started the brewery, I worked in a family business doing a bit of graphic design and we need the skillset [brought by Lion].”

However, there were no plans in place to dramatically accelerate the business’s growth soon.

Instead, Magic Rock’s team would undergo an assessment with Lion to understand how one another’s knowledge can be used.

Increase Magic Rock’s reach

When asked whether there were plans to drastically increase Magic Rock’s reach in the on-trade, to the extent of AB InBev-owned Camden Town Brewery, he said: “It’s not going to be as big as Camden. We’re going to grow it and see what happens.”

Meanwhile, craft beer fans have often criticised breweries for selling to larger organisations.

While Burhouse does not deny this could be the case for him, he explained: “[The critics] haven’t lived my journey.

“We’re eight years old, were no spring chicken and have been flavour of the month at times and gone through periods of not being so popular.

“We’re conscious now that we want to access more customers and we’ve got a fantastic product and people are welcome to their own opinions, but they need to understand that I’m responsible to for the business and people’s jobs.”

Related topics: Beer