Below, The Morning Advertiser has rounded up key movements for the London-based multi-disciplinary private equity firm over the last few months.
In May, Breal acquired North Yorkshire-based Black Sheep Brewery, its shop and pubs following the appointment of advisory firm Teneo as administrators earlier that month.
The award-winning brewery said the acquisition was part of a “strategic review” to explore funding options with a view to take the business forward amid prevailing economic conditions.
Following the acquisition, the brewery, which was founded in 1992 and employs some 150 people, became Black Sheep Brewing Company Limited, trading as Black Sheep Brewery.
Black Sheep chief executive Charlene Lyons explained the decision was taken to “protect the business and its creditors”, adding it had been “hit very hard” by the pandemic and a “perfect storm” of rising costs across the board.
A spokesperson for Black Sheep Brewing Company said: “This marks the next chapter in the history of Black Sheep as we look to grow the business in a sustainable way.
“Our team will continue to produce great beers from our landmark brewery in Masham and we also look forward to welcoming customers and tourists to all our retail sites.
“Breal has a proven track record of successfully transforming and growing the businesses it acquires through the private capital, operational resources, and strategic expertise it brings and we look forward to working closely with the team.”
Breal also concluded a deal to obtain Peckham-based Brick Brewery earlier this year.
Ryan Grant and Tim Bateson from Interpath Advisory were appointed as joint administrators to VTL Realisations 2023 Limited, which was formerly known as Vinoteca Limited, on 18 August 2023.
"We’re pleased to have concluded this transaction which will see the continued operation of the company’s venues and importantly, safeguards more than 150 jobs."
As part of Interpath Advisory’s sale of the business and certain assets to Breal, all 150 employees’ jobs were saved and transferred across to the purchaser along with its sites in Borough Yards, Chiswick, Farringdon, King’s Cross and City.
Founded in 2005 by Charlie Young, Brett Woonton and Elena Ares, the company operates a number of wine bars under the Vinoteca brand.
However, trade had been impacted over recent years by the pandemic, lower customer levels due to train strikes and an underperforming site in Birmingham, which opened in July 2022 and was closed in May 2023.
Described by Breal as a “premier destination for wine enthusiasts”, the firm said Vinoteca would continue to host events, workshops and tastings led by industry experts.
Grant added: “Vinoteca’s bars have been a popular venue for customers across London.
“After exploring a number of options, we’re pleased to have concluded this transaction which will see the continued operation of the company’s venues and importantly, safeguards more than 150 jobs. We wish the management team all the best for the future.”
Shortly after its acquisition of Vinoteca, Breal also completed its purchase of Brew By Numbers, with Finbarr O’Connell and Colin Hardman of Everlyn Partners LLP administering the sale.
Brew by Numbers was founded in in 2011, with the original brewery and taproom on Enid Street in Bermondsey, before production moved to the Greenwich site, adding a 400-person capacity taproom and outdoor space on the banks of the River Thames.
Breal said the “well-established” brand would add “considerable value” to its “brewing family” and confirmed the taproom at Morden Wharf in Greenwich would continue trading as normal with “minimal disruption”.
O’Connell described the acquisition as the “best outcome” for creditors and said it would preserve employment while “maintaining trade”.
Hardman added the brewing sector had seen “widespread pressure” in recent years due to the pandemic, post-Brexit complexity of export paperwork, increased material costs, reduced discretionary spending and changes to beer duty.
He continued: “This has resulted in numerous microbreweries being forced to close in recent years.
“We are therefore delighted to have rescued this pioneering and much-loved brand. We want to thank all the key stakeholders including staff, financiers and critical suppliers for helping make this happen.”