Investment planned to boost brands

Former brewery executives buy Broughton Ales

Broughton Ales

Three former brewing industry executives have bought the Broughton Ales business in the Scottish Borders.

John Hunt, Steve McCarney and David McGowan are acquiring the business for an undisclosed sum from majority shareholder, Giles Litchfield, who has owned Broughton Ales since 1995.

The new owners are based in Scotland and previously spent many years working in senior roles with international drinks groups – Scottish & Newcastle, Heineken and Diageo.

Broughton Ales, which was founded in 1979, is regarded as Scotland’s original craft brewer whose brands include Greenmantle Ale and Old Jock Ale. The new owners plan to invest in developing the business to realise its potential in the fast growing and evolving craft beer market in Scotland.

The group’s business plan will include investing in the brands and creating a visitor attraction. Production will be increased from its current 5,000 hectolitres a year. New packaging and presentation will be introduced. There are plans to build sales in the on-trade pub market.

Mr Hunt said: “Broughton Ales is a business rooted in the heritage and history of the Scottish Borders and with strong brands which have real flavour, quality and character.”

“We plan to invest in the business to build a stronger presence in the growing craft beer market in Scotland to make our brands more accessible to a wider audience including younger consumers attracted to cask beers for the first time.”

Broughton Ales has six employees working in brewing, distribution, sales and administration. The brewing operation is led by Ian Smith who has 30 years’ experience in the business.

Broughton Ales was founded in 1979 by David Younger and James Collins in the village of Broughton in the Scottish Borders not far from the source of the River Tweed.

It was the first initiated Scottish microbrewery, which appealed to customers looking for a new “craft beer” experience outside traditional mass-produced lager and exports.

Collins and Younger capitalised on this time with the release of the iconic beer Greenmantle Ale; which is based on the eponymous John Buchan novel written while the author was living in Broughton.

As demand for craft beers grew, so did Broughton’s portfolio with the introduction of Old Jock Ale, Merlin’s Ale and the Scottish Oatmeal Stout.

Many of the company’s brand names are based on legendary Borders characters; indeed Broughton was the birthplace of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s principal secretary in the 1745 rising.

In 1995, Broughton underwent a change of ownership and was taken over by Mr Litchfield of Derbyshire’s Whim Ales who introduced the “Beers with Character” slogan which was a family of 10 bottled ales.

John Hunt has spent over twenty years in the drinks industry, most recently with Heineken in Amsterdam where he was Executive Director Global Strategy. Prior to this role, he was MD of Heineken’s Development Markets in Western Europe. John joined Heineken following the company’s acquisition of the UK FTSE Scottish & Newcastle in 2008 where he was MD for Asia and also International Finance Director. John will be responsible for finance and strategy at Broughton Ales.

Steve McCarney is a Commercial and Marketing Director with extensive experience developing drink brands in local and international markets. Most recently he was Portfolio Director European Wholesale at Heineken in Amsterdam. Previous roles include Head of Procurement and Head of Commercial Development at Scottish & Newcastle. Steve will be responsible for Marketing at Broughton Ales.

David McGowan has 25 years drinks industry experience having worked in senior sales and marketing positions with Diageo and Scottish & Newcastle. Previous positions include Head of Trade Relations and National Commercial Manager with Diageo and Marketing Controller with Scottish & Newcastle. David will be General Manager of Broughton Ales.

Photo (left to right):  John Hunt, David McGowan and Steve McCarney

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