Marston’s PLC is to acquire the trading operations of Thwaites’ beer division,including Wainwright and Lancaster Bomber ales. The total cash consideration is £25.1 million excluding working capital and is expected to complete on 17 April 2015.
Marston’s has been brewing Thwaites’ beers since early 2014 and, as part of this acquisition, has entered into a long-term exclusive agreement to supply all beer, wine, spirits and minerals to Thwaites’ pub estate. Thwaites’ beer division is a high quality sales business of scale concentrated in the North West of England, including a 150-strong team of regional sales, marketing and distribution staff operating in the Independent Free Trade, National On Trade and National Off Trade channels. The business has shown good growth in recent years, including the acquisition of Hydes Brewery’s free trade business in 2012 which increased Thwaites’ business in Manchester.
Commenting on the transaction, Ralph Findlay, Chief Executive Officer of Marston’s, said: “I am delighted to welcome our new colleagues to Marston’s. We are acquiring a very high quality business with good people and brands, and with growth potential. The acquisition is consistent with our beer business strategy to focus on local provenance and premium brands, and provides opportunity to capitalise on the developing free trade market and increasing consumer interest in the beer category.”
CAMRA has responded with the following statement from Head of Communications Tom Stainer: “The Campaign for Real Ale believes that consumer choice is always reduced when breweries are acquired by larger operators and we’re very concerned about the takeover of Thwaites, a long-established and respected regional family brewer, by Marston’s. While Marston’s has a relatively good history of respecting brewing heritage when it has previously taken over other breweries, such as Wychwood and Jennings, CAMRA will be paying close attention to its plans for the Thwaites brands it has just acquired. We’d urge Marston’s to ensure that the individual nature and taste of Thwaites’ brands are not diluted and lost as a result of this acquisition.”