Camerons Brewery has launched a new manged estate sub-division which it says is ripe for expansion alongside further growth for its Head of Steam chain.

The Hartlepool-based brewer has more than 70 pubs, 28 of them managed. Eight of the managed houses will be subsumed into the new Urban Country Pubs brand, including the seven Leeds Brewery pubs Camerons acquired in 2016.

Camerons will partner with a local brewer for each Urban Country site as well as offering its own range of beers. The food offer will be focussed on classic British dishes and tapas.

David Scott, head of the managed estate, told MCA that having re-invested in all of the existing Leeds Brewery estate to the tune of £150,000 each over the past three years, it had taken the values and ethos of those pubs – independent, focus on the understated, traditional pub values rarely found in the city centre – and now wanted to find other suitable pubs to buy and convert.

He said the key was simple – offering an attractive décor, a good balance of cask and keg and that they must be able to offer a simple, fresh “British pub” menu and a strong link to a local brewer with the opportunity to showcase its beers alongside Camerons as well as other reginal and national breweries.

The first of the new venues to open under Urban Pub Company will be the Fossgate Tap, formally Sutlers, on Fossgate in York this Friday [24 May] following minor refurbishment.

Camerons will work alongside local Yorkshire brewer Turning Point Brew Co. as its partner at the venue.

Scott said Camerons also planned to open about five The Head of Steam venues a year. “We have announced the new venue in Leeds but we are currently in discussions for other sites across the UK.”

Chris Soley, chief executive at Camerons, said: “It has been well documented that we are looking to grow our retail pub estate. We have seen a rapid expansion in our The Head of Steam brand and this will still be a key focus for us over the next five years.

“In addition, we recognised the opportunity to develop further pub brands within our group. When we purchased the seven pubs from Leeds Brewery in 2016 it was always our intention to develop this model and we have heavily invested in these venues over the last three years. We are now in position to roll out this brand and we are looking to acquire additional venues.”

The latest published accounts for the year to the end of April 2018 show pre-tax profit of £1.2m on £74m turnover.