James Cuthbertson has become the new managing director of the Sussex-based brewer and pub operator, Dark Star, MCA has learnt.
Cuthbertson joined the company in 2004 and was previously its marketing director. He has been one of the driving forces behind the group’s growth including the relaunch of its growing pub arm, which is on track grow to eight sites by the end of the year.
Cuthbertson told MCA: “My appointment comes at a really interesting time for the business. We’re growing our pub estate on the back of opening two very successful recent openings and we’re in a period when we’re launching more new beers, in more formats, than in our history. It’s a business that’s been in the so called ‘craft beer’ market for over 20 years now and I believe that we’re well placed to leverage that heritage, coupled with our talented brewing team, to make the coming years very exciting, not just for us, but most importantly, for our customers.”
Cuthbertson’s other roles include being a trustee at the Team Margot Foundation alongside Yaser Martini and director at PubAid, the organisation that promotes the great work that pubs do for charity every year in raising over £100m.
He replaces Paul Reed who stepped down from Dark Star last year and has subsequently joined Bedlam Brewery.
Dark Star is aiming to open up to four sites before the end of the year. The group has agreed terms on a new site in Church Road, Hove, which it hopes to open this winter.
The group launched its pubco, headed by Heath Ball, in 2015 and currently operates four sites.
Cuthbertson said: “Since announcing that we want to build an estate of 25 sites over the next five years, Hove has been very much at the top of that wish-list, but great sites there are few and far between. Whilst there’s still someway to go, we’re aiming to recreate a site similar to The Lockhart Tavern which we opened in Haywards Heath last November - a modern day pub with great beers, wines, spirits and seasonal food offer, all cooked fresh on site.
“Since starting work on the pubco with Heath 18 months ago, we’ve made great strides and we now have real momentum. With a fair wind, we could open three or four new sites before the end of the year.”