Marston’s buys rival Thwaites for £25m

UK pub group and brewer Marston’s has bought rival Daniel Thwaites’ beer division in a cash deal worth £25.1 million.

Marstons PLC Acquisition Thwaites

The acquisition includes two of Thwaites premium brands: Wainwright and Lancaster Bomber ales, and will see Marston’s enter into a long-term exclusive agreement to supply all beer, wine and spirits to Thwaites’ pub estate.

Ralph Findlay, Marston’s CEO, said the acquisition was consistent with its “focus on local provenance and premium brands” within its beer portfolio and presented an opportunity to “capitalise on the developing free trade market” and increase consumer interest in the beer.

However the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) said it was “concerned” by the takeover, believing consumer choice is always reduced when breweries are acquired by larger operators.

“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.”

Concentrated in the north west of England, Thwaites’ beer division includes a 150-strong team of regional sales, marketing and distribution staff operating in the independent, on-trade and off-trade channels.

The transaction is expected to complete on 17 April 2015.

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