Liberation Group chief executive Mark Crowther has told MCA that he expects the Butcombe estate to reach 100 bedrooms by Easter, up from the current 70.

As the group revealed managed like for like sales up 6.5% and total sales up 114% for the four weeks to 31 December, Crowther said he was happy with the sales split across the estate. Food currently accounts for c42% of sales with 5% accommodation and the rest achieved through wet sales. Crowther said it was important that the sites operated Butcombe remained demonstrably pubs rather than restaurants.

He said the West Country-based group had seen the benefit of the investment in the brewery over the last year and the rebranding that was undertaken in early 2017.

Butcombe has been highly acquisitive adding around 20 new pubs in 2017, more than doubling the number of sites operated to approaching 50. This has been achieved through single site acquisitions and most recently by acquiring eight pubs from SA Brain.

This year will see investment in the newly acquired pubs and the benefits of the new distribution depot and bottling line, opened in November which will support double-digit growth in Butcombe’s keg range which includes Butcombe Original, Goram (Avon IPA), and Bohemia (Pilsner).

Crowther, said: “This is an excellent result driven by our teams of great people and the enhancements that we have made to the business over the last 12 months. Complementing our Channel Island business, we now have a very high-quality portfolio of predominantly freehold West Country pubs to trade from in 2018 which together with the benefits from the improvements to the brewing side of the business augurs well for the coming year.”