Property round-up

Beartown breaks ground on brewery, first Bounce site in seven years

By Gary Lloyd contact

- Last updated on GMT

Sales, revamps and big investments: there’s plenty of property news this week
Sales, revamps and big investments: there’s plenty of property news this week

Related tags: Property, Finance, Multi-site pub operators, Pubco + head office, Tenanted + leased

The latest property news includes Beartown Brewery’s investment plans, a new Bounce site from State of Play, a pub purchase by Greene King, BrewDog to open in Cheltenham, Star Pubs & Bars to double managed estate in Scotland, Inn Collection Group's revamp plans approved, St Austell targets 200 pubs and the Bull and Last duo to open Highgate gastropub.

Beartown starts work on new brewery and taproom

Congleton-based Beartown Brewery has broken ground on a new brewery and has invested in new kit, a taproom and into an expansion into kegs.

The Cheshire business is west to open its new brewery in late spring, which will offer four times the capacity of the original Beartown brewery, which opened in 1994, with the ability to continue adding to its fermenter farm and produce eight times more capacity.

An upgrade to its original kit will mean the brewery will be able to produce “some big hitting flavour profiles in the next six months”. The new kit will also allow Beartown to offer contract brewing to smaller brewers without the skills or capacity of the established brand.

This will be explored through the introduction of the ‘Dirty Dozen’, seeing 12 limited-edition beers over 12 months, which the business sees as “a brewer’s indulgence” that allows its head brewer to experiment with beers ranging from no/low New England IPAs to 12% imperial stouts.

Beartown also plans to add a keg machine and closed top unitanks to take on a piece of the craft beer market.

Managing director Joseph Manning said: “Last year saw us achieve record sales, higher than pre-pandemic, something that really affirmed that now was the right time to expand the brewery, investing in new kit and giving us the opportunity to grow the Beartown brand.

“We are keen to grow our keg offering, as kegs have become increasingly popular on the market. Pre-covid our business was 95% core cask to the trade and now we have a strong consumer bottle and can customer base and have seen keg take off with our on-trade customers in a big way throughout 2021.”

The proposed taproom will feature floor-to-ceiling glass windows with panoramic views of the brewery and sampling opportunities. A series of events are planned too, including Congleton Unplugged – an acoustic music festival, plus a series of own-brand beer festivals.

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First Bounce site to open in seven years

Experiential leisure operator State of Play is to open its first Bounce venue in seven years, with a new location lined up at Battersea Power Station.

The competitive socialising concept has signed a lease for the ping pong concept, which will join its sites in Old Street and Farringdon, following the “remarkable and sustained success” of its existing locations.

State of Play, which also owns and operates bingo concept Hijingo, in the UK as well as operating Bounce’s sister brand AceBounce and Flight Club, under licence, in the US, has ambitions to expand the business further.

The new venue, which will span almost 8,000sq ft within Turbine Hall B with plans for 11 gaming areas, a central cocktail bar and a private room.

As well as ping pong, Bounce Battersea Power Station will also offer several Wonderball tables – the brand’s proprietary gaming platform – that uses laser mapping technology to create various interactive games.

Toby Harris, CEO of State of Play Hospitality chief executive Toby Harris said: “We’re very excited to be opening a new Bounce in the power station, which has to be the most eagerly awaited development in London of our lifetimes.

“The launch of Bounce in 2012 represented the start of the State of Play journey and it feels fitting than almost exactly ten years on we’ll be opening an all-new version in an extraordinary setting.”

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Greene King takes on the Village Inn in the Lake District

Greene King has bought Lake District pub the Village Inn Bar & Grill in an off-market deal for an undisclosed sum.

The site, which is close to Lake Windermere in Bowness, confidentially came to the market during the last year and is claimed to be “one of the most popular and recognised food and drink establishments in the area”. The venue holds seating for 135, with an extensive and popular outdoor dining facility for up to 90 covers.

A Greene King spokesperson said: “We’re delighted to have completed the purchase of the Village Inn. We’re refurbishing the pub over the next few weeks and are aiming to have it back open again for the community as soon as possible.”

Julian Troup, head of hotels at Colliers, which handled the sale, said: “The positive level of interest follows a pattern of increasing demand for provincial UK hospitality businesses. Having sold 22 hotels and hospitality businesses in the Lakes in 2021, being a record number for us, this sale of the Village Inn is now the third hospitality business in the area we’ve sold in 2022.

“This continued volume of transactional activity demonstrates the continued domestic, private and corporate demand for ‘staycation’ locations throughout the UK.”

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Hydes Brewery invests £400k into pub revamp 

Hydes Brewery has relaunched the Coach & Four pub in Wilmslow as part of a multimillion-pound investment of the brewery’s estate over the next two years.

The 18th century coaching house in Cheshire, which is paired with the adjacent Wilmslow Lodge, has undergone a transformational refurbishment costing about £400,000 with a full interior redecoration to create a welcoming haven for guests.

The pub, owned by one of Manchester’s oldest brewing businesses Hydes Brewery, has been redesigned to ensure it stays true to its existing charm while new fixtures and furniture have been fitted throughout along with new signage and every room has been repainted and reupholstered where required.

Managing director Adam Mayers said: “This is a much-loved premium dining pub and we’re confident customers are going to enjoy this newly refurbished jewel in Wilmslow’s crown. Hydes has significantly invested in the redesign on this project, the first of multiple redesigns and refurbishments we’re going to be rolling out across our portfolio over the next two years.”

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Credit: Peter Creighton

BrewDog to open bar in Cheltenham

Scottish brewer and bar operator BrewDog will open a new site in Cheltenham on Friday 25 February.

BrewDog Cheltenham will serve up 30 taps of draught beer from BrewDog headliners, craft breweries from the south of England and further afield, alongside canned and bottled offerings to drink in or takeaway. Plus two guest taps to support the local breweries of Cheltenham all year round and weekly beer launches.  

BrewDog managing director James Brown said: “We can’t wait to bring our cutting-edge craft beer to Cheltenham, a city with a long history of brewing. We think our ethos of sustainability will go hand in hand with Gloucestershire’s eco-friendly focus.

“With 30 beers on tap, including at least two local favourites, we’re excited to become part of the local community of craft beer lovers and the already-thriving hospitality scene.”

BrewDog Cheltenham will open at midday at The Brewery Quarter, Henrietta Street, with first 100 people through the doors entered into a raffle to win a year of free BrewDog beer.

To read the full story, click here​.

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Star Pubs & Bars to double Scottish managed estate 

Star Pubs & Bars is set to double the size of its managed estate in Scotland.

The pub arm of Heineken is to create seven sites for its Just Add Talent model to add to its current crop of six in Scotland, subject to finding new operators.

The ingoing cost is £4,000 compared to at least £10,000 for a leased and tenanted pub and far more to purchase a freehouse. Under the agreement, operators run the business but only fund their own and their staffing costs. Star Pubs & Bars pays for all other expenses including utilities, rates, food, drinks and repairs. The revenue and profit are shared between both parties with no limit on operators’ earnings.

Star said while the managed operator model is widespread in England and Wales, it is still relatively uncommon in Scotland.

Star Pubs & Bars operations director for Scotland, Matthew Dyson, said: “Getting your first pub in Scotland is challenging. There is a significantly lower proportion of leased and tenanted tied pubs than in the rest of the UK.

“Furthermore, almost two thirds of pubs are independently owned. Where these are rented out, they usually come with no support and, if they’re being sold, the high price puts them out of reach of most people. The growth of the managed operator agreement offers a fantastic opportunity for people in Scotland looking to run their own pub business at a fraction of the cost of other options.”

To read the full story, click here​.

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Inn Collection Group’s multimillion-pound site redevelopment plan cleared

Multimillion-pound plans have been given the go-ahead for The Inn Collection Group’s redevelopment of iconic north Tyneside venue, The Park.

North Tyneside Council has approved plans to transform the famous art deco venue into a family-friendly pub with rooms.

The redevelopment includes extensive remodelling to the former Park Hotel’s current bar and dining areas along with the site’s existing bedrooms. The venue will feature an ice cream parlour and fish and chip takeaway while new outdoor seating areas and terraces will make the most of the site’s panoramic sea views of famous Longsands beach. A function area will be reconfigured to create an additional 20 bedrooms for guests.

Managing director Sean Donkin said: “We are absolutely delighted plans have been given the green light for the former Park Hotel, which will become a truly exceptional venue for north Tyneside.

“The building is an institution on the coast in Tynemouth but has been in decline for a considerable length of time. We’re looking forward to giving this stunning venue a new lease of life for people in the community and visitors alike to enjoy.”

The venue is expected to reopen in autumn 2022 and will create 70 full-time equivalent jobs.

To read the full story, click here​.

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St Austell looks to expand over ‘next few years’

South-west-based brewer and pub operator St Austell Brewery has revealed it is positive about the growth of its business and is looking to increase its estate to more than 200 pubs in the next few years.

St Austell runs 180 pubs across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset, and is looking to expand through acquisitions.

Chief executive Kevin Georgel said: “We are very positive about our future growth prospects and look forward to continue strengthening our legacy as a leading south-west hospitality business. We are also passionate about attracting the best talent.”

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Gastropub duo Baring up well 

Chef Rob Tecwyn and general manager Adam Symonds are reuniting to open a gastropub 10 years after they first met at the Bull and Last in Highgate, north London.

Due to launch in May, the Baring will be located on the Islington street of the same name and will be defined by Tecwyn’s ‘simple yet considered cooking’, which will ‘promote humble ingredients and seasonal produce’ against a backdrop of low intervention wines and independent UK breweries.

The duo say the Baring will stay respectful to the traditions of the great British pub while not being bound by them and will offer a concise food menu of bar snacks, starters, main courses and desserts alongside some larger dishes for sharing.

The Baring will also serve a Sunday roast, as well as a special lunch deal from Tuesday to Friday that offers a weekly changing dish along with a glass of wine for £15.

Since leaving the Bull and Last, Tecwyn has worked as head chef at Dabbous and The Henrietta Hotel, as well as Moro, Morito, and, most recently, as senior sous chef at Kerridge’s Bar and Grill.

Symonds, who spent five years at the helm at the Bull and Last, moved on to Orasay and Six Portland Road. 

“I believe in the value of serving great produce with respect to the land it comes from. Whether vegetables, meat, wine, or beer this has to be chosen with appreciation for the integrity of the process, placing particular importance on sustainability and non-invasive farming," says Symonds. 

"Opening a pub with Rob is an extension of our beliefs as well as a move to adapt to the changing times within our industry; placing staff wellbeing and quality of life at the forefront of a successful business and creating a space that is not only welcoming but also inclusive and inspiring.”

The baring
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