Scots brands in brewery sale

Marston’s plans Scottish push after Charles Wells deal

Deal involves the formerly Scottish-brewed beers: Younger’s, Courage and McEwan’s

Marston’s has acquired the Charles Wells brewing business in a £55 million cash deal and hopes it will help it push further into the Scottish market.

It includes the Bedford-based group’s brands, such as Younger’s, Courage, and McEwan’s. The pubs in the UK and France are not included.

The deal raises Marston’s ale market share from 11% to 16% and it believes the  acquisition will strengthen its representation in London and the South East, as well as present an opportunity through the McEwan’s brand to expand into Scotland.

McEwan’s Export, while no longer brewed in Scotland, remains the best-selling supermarket brand.

The deal also includes the UK distribution rights for Kirin Lager, Estrella Damm, Erdinger and Founders and the exclusive global licence of the Young’s brand.

In addition, Cockburn & Campbell, the wine merchants, will also transfer to the new owner. Charlie Wells and John Bull beers will remain part of Charles Wells Ltd. Employees at the brewery in production, national sales, and brands marketing will transfer to Marston’s.

The former Scottish brands Wm Younger, Courage and McEwan’s passed to Heineken in 2008 after its purchase of Scottish & Newcastle’s British operations. Heineken sold McEwan’s to Wells & Young’s in 2011 when production moved south.

Charles Wells has been to develop speciality ale and lager brands and a high-quality pub estate and said today’s announcement signals an exit from higher volume national sales in favour of a more local and smaller scale brewing future in its home patch.

Marston’s unveiled the deal with half-year results, which showed a 3% rise in underlying revenue to £440.8 million for the 26 weeks to 1 April, despite the later scheduling of the Easter holidays this year.


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