Fuller’s has announced the acquisition of Sussex-based Dark Star Brewing, taking a 100% stake in the business.

The London brewer says the deal will give Dark Star access to the funds it needs to invest in new markets and increase sales of beers such as Hophead, APA, Dark Star Original and Revelation as well as Dark Star’s wide range of seasonal brews.

Brewing will continue at Dark Star’s Partridge Green site, managing director James Cuthbertson will remain at the helm, and the brewer will continue to operate as a standalone business.

James said: “Since our inception in 1994, we have continuously grown from those early days in The Evening Star Pub in Brighton to the current brewery in Partridge Green.

“The partnership with Fuller’s — another independent brewery with fantastic heritage and great beer at its very core — will allow us to take the brewery to the next level. The deal means we will continue to do what we do, but gives us huge opportunities to brew more one-off small batch beers hand-in-hand with exploring the export market and expanded bottle and can formats.”

‘Beer should be fun’

He added: “We’ve always described Dark Star as more of a hobby that got out of control than a business, an ethos that will remain at the centre of what we do and what we’re about, after all, beer should be fun and accessible.”

Simon Dodd, managing director of The Fuller’s Beer Company, said: “Following on from the success we have had with our acquisition of Cornish Orchards, we have been looking at similar opportunities to invest in and work with young, exciting companies that have a similar ethos and commitment to quality as Fuller’s.

“Following discussions with James and the team at Dark Star, we could see that we could add real benefit to the Dark Star business and it provides a great new range of delicious cask beers that will enhance the Fuller’s portfolio.

“Both Fuller’s and Dark Star are brewers with quality and taste at their heart. I just can’t wait to see how Dark Star innovates further with the support of Fuller’s and access to our expertise in brewing, retailing and business elements such as finance, purchasing and IT systems.”

• Dark Stars four pubs — The Anchor Tap, Horsham, Evening Star, Brighton, Lockhart Tavern, Haywards Heath, and Partridge, Partridge Green — are not included in the deal and will be run under a separate vehicle.

James Cutherbtson told the Propel industry newsletter: “We are catching our breath on the pubs. That part of the business still has growth left in it, but we need to concentrate on the beer side for now.”


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