Marston's buys £55m brewing arm of Bombardier ale maker Charles Wells

Paterniano Del Favero
Mag 19, 2017

Marston's confirmed today that it will take control of the Bedford facility, which produces beer brands Bombardier, Courage and McEwan's.

Black Country brewery Marston's has acquired rival Charles Wells for £55 million.

The acquisition of the Charles Wells Brewing and Beer Business will raise Marston's ale market share up from 11% to 16%, bringing brands like Young's, Bombardier, and McEwan's under the same roof as Marston's labels including Hobgoblin, Wainwright and Lancaster Bomber.

Marston's said the Charles Wells Brewing and Beer Business acquisition complemented its existing strategy, as it extended its number one position in the premium bottled ale and cask ale markets, and enhances its share of the premium canned market.

Finally, Marston's said the transaction developed its licensed brands business and expanded its production capabilities to include lager brewing and canning, whilst improving production and distribution efficiency.

Charles Wells will make brewing and supply arrangements with Marston's for interim brewing and longer-term distribution services.

Ralph Findlay, chief executive at Marston's, said: "Marston's is delighted to have reached this agreement with Charles Wells and is absolutely committed to the future of brewing in Bedford".

The firm said the sale is part of its strategy to exit higher-volume national sales "in favour of more local and smaller scale brewing".

Going forward, its key focus will be the expansion of its managed pub businesses in the United Kingdom and France through acquisition, alongside additional investment in its leased and tenanted estate.

"After a detailed review of our strategy we had made a decision to rebalance the company more towards retail investment - and that meant finding a partner we could work with for the future", he said.

The riverside brewery was founded by Charles Wells himself in 1876 and has spent the past 140 years brewing its distinctive beers for pubs all over the United Kingdom and France.

Meanwhile Marston's said the deal will allow the company to extend its trading area in the South of England and Scotland.

Charles Wells Ltd chief executive, Justin Phillimore, said the deal provided opportunities for both companies.

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