New owner for Scots stalwart

McEwan’s parent sold to Marston’s in £55 million deal

• Marston’s boss Ralph Findlay.

PUBS and brewing business Marston’s has agreed to buy the brewing and brands business of Charles Wells, parent company of McEwan’s, for £55 million.

In addition to McEwan’s, the deal will include the Charles Wells brewery in Bedford and brands such as Bombardier and Courage as well as the UK distribution rights for Estrella Damm, Erdinger and Kirin Lager. Wine merchant Cockburn & Campbell will also transfer to Marston’s.

The Charlie Wells and John Bull beers will remain part of Charles Wells, as will the company’s 200 pubs in England.
Moving forward, there will be agreements with Marston’s to supply the Charles Wells pubs.

Marston’s chief executive, Ralph Findlay, said the acquisition would allow the business to strengthen its positions in Scotland and south of the border.

“It is a high quality brewing business offering us opportunities to extend our trading area in the south of England and Scotland, and brings a range of well-known and popular brands into our portfolio,” said Findlay.

“We also aim to develop further our range of international licensed brands, and look forward to working with our new overseas partners, including Estrella Damm, Erdinger and Kirin.”

Charles Wells chief executive, Justin Phillimore, said the business had decided to “re-balance the company more towards retail investment and that meant finding a partner we could work with for the future”.

“There are opportunities for both companies in this deal and we look forward to bringing them to life,” said Phillimore.

The Charles Wells acquisition is the latest expansion move from Marston’s, which has opened several managed outlets in Scotland in the past three years. It bought the Thwaites beer business in 2015 for £25m.