The deal, which has been completed for an undisclosed amount, includes: The Bath Ales brewery, situated between Bath and Bristol, its portfolio of beer brands and its 11-strong pub estate which includes three Graze outlets and three Beerd bars.
James Staughton, chief executive, St Austell Brewery, said: “For a long time Bath Ales has been a company I have admired and this exciting acquisition provides the coming together of two like-minded businesses.
“Bath Ales brews great beer and has a thriving pub estate both of which complement those of St Austell Brewery and with the acquisition we are committing to a long-term significant investment in the Bath Ales brands, pub estate, people and brewing facilities. We already operate a successful free trade business across the region, and a wholesale service to free trade customers, which will also bring additional routes to market for Bath Ales’ beers.”
Staughton added: “As a business, St Austell Brewery has a strong commitment to Cornwall and South West England and the deal supports our strategy to strengthen and extend our presence in the Bristol and Bath region. Together St Austell Brewery and Bath Ales will deliver solid and distinctive offerings to customers combining conscious innovation, service excellence and the scaling of what works.”
Roger Jones, founder of Bath Ales, said: “This is a really exciting move for Bath Ales. With the investment and broader support from St Austell Brewery we are better placed to capture the opportunity that exists for Bath Ales.
“We are confident that we can also make a strong contribution to their operations so that the combined organisation can really set the standard for quality beers and outstanding venues.”
Jones added: “From the first contact with St Austell Brewery we genuinely found people and an operation that have a consistent set of values and the same commitment to quality. The combined business will be a force to be reckoned with.”
St Austell Brewery, which is one of only 28 independent family-owned brewers in the UK, was founded in 1851 and is known to be one of the oldest businesses in Cornwall. The company owns 167 pubs and inns across the South West.
Best known for Tribute Cornish Pale Ale, Proper Job IPA and Korev lager, St Austell Brewery makes its award-winning beers at its brewery in St Austell. The company reached the landmark figure of 100,000 brewer’s barrels (163,659 hectolitres) of its own brand beers brewed in a calendar year in 2015 – equivalent to 28.8 million pints.
Bath Ales, founded in 1995, brews a successful award-winning range of beers including Gem and Barnsey and operates a pub estate in Bristol, Bath, Cirencester and Oxford. Current Bath Ales directors, including managing director Roger Jones, will play an active role during the transition and integration process.
All of St Austell Brewery’s beers will continue to be brewed in Cornwall. Likewise, all Bath Ales’ beer brands will continue to be brewed at the Bath Ales Brewery where a schedule of investment to expand the brewing and packaging facilities will take place.
St Austell Brewery recently announced a strong trading year in the 53-week period to January 2, 2016. Annual turnover was reported at rising 7.9% to £137.4 million and there was a 7.6% increase in operating profit before other items to £13.5 million.
Bath Ales recorded a strong year with sales growth up seven per cent (to £15.6 million). Sales of its beer brands, led by flagship brand Gem, were up 18 per cent, to more than 20,000 brewer’s barrels (just over 30,000 hectolitres) – more than five million pints.