McMullen’s, the independent brewer and pub operator, has sold the surplus area of its old brewery site in Hertford to Sainsbury’s, the supermarket chain, for an undisclosed sum. The company said it would use the sale of the four-acre site, which includes its old Victorian brewery building, to repay bank loans, to invest in acquiring new pubs and on improvements to its existing estate of 136 sites. The group plans to continue to operate its distribution from its existing warehouse and to brew in its new £1m brewery, which it officially opened in the town in April. Charles Brims, chairman, said: “This is a very good deal for the group and further strengthens McMullen’s as a successful Hertford company.” The company’s new brewery, which was two years in development, brewed its first barrels in January and is now supplying the firm’s entire estate of pubs. Fergus McMullen, production and sales manager at McMullen’s, said the brewery would enable the company to operate smaller, more economical brewing runs of between 30 and 120 barrels, which in turn will allow head brewer Chris Evans to supply seasonal ales to pubs in six week cycles. McMullen said: “History shows that once companies lose their brewery, they lose their soul and become what I call ’another pub company’. We don’t want to do that here.”