Brasserie Bar Co rebrands, targets premium pub sector growth

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Bright future: Brasserie Bar Co renamed as Heartwood Collection
Bright future: Brasserie Bar Co renamed as Heartwood Collection

Related tags Brasserie Bar Co Property Multi-site pub operators Pubco + head office

Brasserie Bar Co is set to be rebranded as Heartwood Collection today, marking the first step in the group’s bid to become a freehold pub company underscored by a premium brasserie division.

The business has laid out its aim to become the market-leading operator of freehold premium pubs and pubs-with-rooms in the UK.

Heartwood Collection currently operates 20 premium pubs and 14 Brasserie Blanc restaurants across the UK – but the company plans to grow significantly as a freehold business in the years ahead.

As a result of this move, White Brasserie Company,​ one of the business’ brands, will become Heartwood Inns on 6 July.

Heartwood Collection chairman Mark Derry said: “This is the right time for us to make this change. Our new name reflects not only the business we are today, but it underlines the ambition we have to become a leading freehold pub business of real scale.

“With the ongoing support of our new owners Alchemy, we will continue to target the opening of new sites, and I look forward to bringing Heartwood’s pub offer to new towns and local communities throughout the UK.”

New sites

In August, the group’s next site – the Black Swan in Henley, Warwickshire – is due to open in August. The inn will have 120 restaurants seats, 60 bar seats and 100 garden seats.

The term Heartwood is the name for the oldest and inner most core of a tree. With 25 years of experience, the group picked the name to reflect its “strong foundations” and “ambitious growth plans”.

Furthermore, the company will take a long-term approach, and will continue to prioritise the acquisition of atmospheric freehold properties – especially those where there is scope to refurbish.

Heartwood’s aim is to become a business grounded in “unforgettable moments,” which it hopes to achieve through combing premium food with characterful sites and “memorable” overnight stays.

As part of this move, the leadership team will remain in place – with Mark Derry as chairman and Richard Ferrier as managing director.

Raymond Blanc will stay in charge of menu evolution, the quality of sourcing, and the development of staff.

With the support of new owners Alchemy,​ the group has accelerated its growth plans and has completed the acquisition of 11 freehold sites over the past 12 months.

What’s more, it is close to completing on a further five in the summer of 2023. These include the former George Evelyn pub in Long Ditton, Surrey, and 16th​ century coach inn the White Hart, Lewes, East London.

Growth plan

The company will aim to grow to 61 sites by June 2027. As part of this, Heartwood has also set a goal​ of providing nearly 400 boutique bedrooms in the same time period.

This will mean the creation of a further 1,500 jobs up and down the UK, taking the total number of Heartwood employees to 2,700.

According to Heartwood Collection managing director Richard Ferrier, the British public had emerged from the pandemic with a strong desire to eat and drink in ways that offer quality, reliability, and value.

He continued: “It is against this backdrop that we are becoming Heartwood Collection. We have a proven and attractive pub offer underpinned by skilled-chefs and warm hospitality.

"It is an offer that our guests love, and in Heartwood Collection, we have a clear platform to achieve accelerated growth in the years ahead.

“We are already making good progress on growing our pipeline of new sites and we look forward to welcoming regular and new guests through our doors – as well as welcoming new colleagues to the pubs we open.”

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