No targets have been set for openings under Craft Beer Pub Co, the new joint venture between the Downing Pub EIS Fund and London-based operator Faucet Inns, M&C Report has learnt.

The new venture has secured its first site, buying the freehold of The Pensioners in Southampton from Greene King for an undisclosed sum.

Steven Kenee, head of the licensed leisure team at Downing, said: “The Pensioners is very well located, in the heart of the student and office ‘circuit’ of central Southampton. Following a refurbishment the site is to be re-opened with a focus on providing a wide selection of craft beer and good quality food.

“It is hoped that The Pensioners is the first of a number of acquisitions of similar quality sites outside of London. This investment represents an excellent opportunity for Downing to form a new partnership with a proven management team. Furthermore, the excellent location of The Pensioners should see it well suited to the increasingly popular craft beer market.”

Regarding more acquisitions, Kenee told M&C Report: “We don’t set targets for the numbers of sites we wish to open or the timescales in which we wish to open them.

“Unlike a lot of private equity firms, we feel that we should find funds to match opportunities rather than trying to find opportunities to match funds. This, in our opinion, minimises our risk and reduces potential friction with management teams.”

He said The Pensioners was previously run as a tenancy, focusing on the late night trade to “compete with its larger and better invested neighbours”. “Our plan is to reposition the offer to complement rather than compete with the competition.”