Butcombe rebrand

The Boards of Liberation Group, owner of Butcombe Brewery, and SA Brain have reached agreement on the sale of eight English pubs owned and operated by SA Brain to Butcombe for an undisclosed sum. These pubs make up most of the pubs that SA Brain has successfully owned and operated in England.

The eight high quality pubs include six managed sites — the Smoking Dog in Malmesbury, Bear in Cirencester, Bowl in Almondsbury, Ostrich in Bristol, Jubilee in Flax Bourton and White Horse in Buckover — and two tenanted pubs — the Langford in Lower Langford, and Old Station in Hallatrow). Seven of these pubs are freehold and one leasehold.

Butcombe has been highly acquisitive building its business in the West Country, more than doubling its pub estate over the last year. In addition to purchasing high-quality pubs, Butcombe is also investing in the Butcombe Brewery, expanding its range of beers to include innovative new beers such as Pioneer, and upgrading its infrastructure with a new distribution depot and kegging and bottling line.

Including this latest acquisition, the Butcombe pub estate now numbers 43 and further advances Butcombe’s strategy of becoming the leading West Country regional brewer and pub owner.

SA Brain plans to focus its licensed retail operations within Wales, where it will continue to operate some 100 managed houses and a leased and tenanted estate totalling more than 70 pubs. Brains also remains highly acquisitive outside of Wales through its Coffee#1 brand, which recently saw the addition of an 83rd site in Plymouth. An announcement regarding a move to a new brewery site in Cardiff is expected in the near future.

Accelerated growth

Mark Crowther, chief executive of Liberation Group, said: “The addition of these eight high-quality pubs to our portfolio further accelerates the growth of our rapidly expanding pub estate, strengthening our presence in our heartland around Bath and Bristol.

“These pubs are a perfect fit with our existing portfolio and will benefit from ownership by our fast-growing, market-leading regional brewery with its well-known brands. We welcome all those who work in those pubs and look forward to building a successful future together.”

Scott Waddington, chief executive of SA Brain, added: “The sale of our English pubs is well timed, given the outstanding prospects we have to further grow our brand and pubs business in Wales. The rich affection with which our brand is held has further solidified our conviction to pursue our pub agenda inside Wales.

“We will remain very proud of the period of ownership we have enjoyed with the pubs that are being acquired by Butcombe, and believe the team, with their West Country heartland, are well placed to take these businesses forward.”

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