Everards managing director Stephen Gould has told MCA he is confident the Leicestershire brewery and pub operator can reach a deal to sell its headquarters, after so far failing to agree a price and terms with The Crown Estate.

Everards has announced deal or no deal it will this summer move from its current Castle Acres headquarters, which has unconditional planning permission for a 300,000 sq ft of retail development with Next.

The group will not start building work on its new headquarters, Everards Meadows, until it has reached an agreement with The Crown Estate, which part-owns the rest of the Fosse Park retail scheme, with the new HQ depending on funds from the Castle Acres sale.

The Crown Estate said it was committed to acquire the site in order to expand Fosse Park. Regional director Hannah Milne said: “We’re continuing to work through a number of factors for a major purchase like this to ensure it’s a viable and successful project that will further strengthen Fosse’s position as the region’s premier retail and leisure destination.”

In the meantime Everards will relocate to a logistics centre at Optimus Point business, while its brewing operation will be outsourced to independent brewers Robinsons Brewery of Stockport and Joules Brewery of Market Drayton, Shropshire – though Gould said this would not be a permanent contingency plan if no deal can be agreed.

Gould said the outsourced beers, with Robinsons brewing Tiger and Beacon Hill and Joules brewing Old Original, Sunchaser and Limited Edition Beers, had already been introduced into the pub estate.

He said: “Apart from one minor issue with the 2nd batch of Old Original, (which turned out to be, a now resolved, intermittent issue with a cask-washer not with the brewing of the beer) we have received no customer feedback – which, of course, is the aim of this initiative.

“I am sorry that I was unable to announce that we had started to send out partner brewed beers at the time, but we were looking to present these beers in a natural way so that we could check that our beer match process had been successful with the most important people - our drinkers.

“Everards Beers, brewed by Robinsons and Joules are, right now, in our pub estate being enjoyed by customers, so the aim is a seamless transition as we cease Brewing at our Castle Acres site.”

As part of the downsizing of the group’s brewing operation to focus on expanding its pub estate, 27 roles are being made redundant.

Gould told MCA: “I think it’s very likely we will reach a deal with The Crown Estate. The planning consent is completely unconditional, and it’s just taking a little longer to finalise price and terms. I’d be disappointed if we couldn’t reach a deal.”