Rio has been marketed, sold and distributed on an exclusive licence basis by A.G. Barr’s recently acquired Boost Drinks division since 2021.
The acquisition is funded from the Irn Bru maker’s net cash position.
Roger White, CEO of A.G. Barr, commented: “As brand builders we are delighted to acquire the Rio brand and secure its long-term position in our wider portfolio. This allows us to realise the benefits of full brand ownership and support Rio’s continued growth. This acquisition is a further positive indication of our strategic ambitions.”
Earlier this year, Hall & Woodhouse, which brews Badger, reported turnover of £109m for 2022.
Underlying profit before tax was £4.4m, which was “well below” pre-pandemic levels due to cost pressures.
At the time, chairman Anthony Woodhouse said: "Our post-pandemic plan was to return to close to normal levels of trading and profitability but, as I warned last year, the terrible war in Ukraine had a profound effect on the economy with rapid inflation not seen since the 1980s.
“Although revenue levels were encouraging, margins were squeezed as costs and wages rose at a greater pace than we were able to pass on to our guests and customers. In this environment, the profit outturn was a creditable performance, although still well below pre pandemic levels."
Volatile external environment
He added: “Our managed house business, where our results are more operationally geared to the volatile external environment, suffered the brunt of the margin squeeze.
“‘Business partnerships’ had a solid year performing as expected, showing the robustness of this business model. We have a high-quality estate with high quality business partners with who we genuinely work in partnership. We were delighted to be awarded the Publican Awards 2022 Tenanted/Leased Pub Company (up to 500 sites) of the year in recognition of this.”
The Dorset-based brewer and pub operator, which has a 180-strong estate, benefiting from profits on the disposal of non-strategic assets during the period.