Edward Wood (centre) hands over the reins of the brewery to new owners Stephen O’Neill (left) and Patrick McGuckian
The Wood Brewery, started by the real-ale-loving Wood family in 1980 in Wistanstow, south Shropshire, has been acquired by Yarrawaddie Brands. The brewery was one of the founders of what is now the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) and a strong supporter of CAMRA.
Yarrawaddie Brands is owned by Stephen O’Neill, a drinks industry executive who was formerly senior vice-president of strategy for Pernod Ricard USA, and Patrick McGuckian, who has spent his career in the food distribution business. They will be joint managing directors.
Joining the company as commercial director is Tony Walsh, who previously worked for Bass and Imbiba, a leisure industry fund.
Edward Wood, managing director of the Wood Brewery for almost 40 years, said: “Obviously I have mixed feelings about leaving the company, but I believe the new owners can take the business to a new level and are well placed to ensure substantial growth from a robust base.”
Edward will continue in the business as a consultant for some months to ensure a smooth handover.
Wood’s award-winning draught and bottled beers, including Shropshire Lad and Shropshire Lass, are sold throughout Shropshire and adjoining counties, as well as further afield through drinks agencies.
The brewery is based where it started, in the former stables of the Plough Inn, the brewery tap, in Wistanstow village, on the edge of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Wood’s have made significant developments and expansion on the site over the years.