Adnams, the Suffolk-based brewer and pub operator, will focus on brewing and distilling rather than its pub estate as its reasons for owning pubs “are diminishing”, Chairman Jonathan Adnams told M&C Report.
He said the company has to run between three and four pubs under management at any given time on a short-term basis as its tenanted arm struggles.
In half yearly results published yesterday the company said the pub estate has held back its results in the first half of the year and seven are to be sold this year.
Adnams said that small, rural village pubs do not fit with the company’s tenanted model and will continue the disposal programme in 2015 and into 2016 although there is no determined number of pubs for sale. He added that pubs will be sold if they are found not to be sustainable for the brewer or able to provide a reasonable income for the tenant.
Adnams said that pubs have come under greater pressure as people drink more at home so the brewer is focusing on brewing and distilling rather than the pub estate.
“What stands out to me is when I joined the industry 40 years ago 100% of the total turnover was about beer sales but now in some rural pubs only about 10% is about beer, so the whole balance has switched over time,” he said.
With this in mind it is not looking to make acquisitions but Adnams said he would not rule out growing the estate in the future with destination pubs but at present there are no acquisition plans in the pipeline.
The brewer’s focus will remain on its beer sales which have been continuously strong as the company has boosted sales in pubs and for the take home market.
To boost its on-trade beer sales Adnams said the company has “concentrated on working hard with managed pubs over the last few years” to redress the balance of being over-weighted with tenanted pub estates which caused Adnams to suffer as these declined.
He said the brewery has made a conscious effort to ensure they produce beers people want to buy by creating both innovative brews such as Ghost Ship as well as established favorites like Broadside.
The brewer has won two awards for its distilling, in 2013 it was awarded World’s Best Gin in the International Wine & Spirit Competition, followed by a win this year for its Longshore Vodka.