James Staughton, chief executive of St Austell Brewery, has told MCA that the company will look to build on the initial success that new acquisition Bath Ales has had with its fledgling brands Graze and Beerd.
St Austell announced this morning that it had acquired fellow West Country brewer and pub company, Bath Ales for an undisclosed sum, which includes three Graze outlets and three Beerd bars.
Staughton told MCA: “We have no plans to undo anything that Bath Ales have put in place. We will be building on what they have already achieved and there may be opportunities to convert some of our existing sites to their formats. We are very much keeping an open mind on that.
“Part of the attraction of acquiring the business was its formats and that now gives us a greater arsenal of options to use when we are looking at new sites or having conversations around the future of existing pubs. The potential is there to build on the potential for Graze in and around Bath and Bristol. We had spoken about looking at other opportunities for further Samuel Jones openings and we would have been looking in Bristol and Bath of that, but our instinct is now to go down the Graze route. We are going to take a cool, long look at the opportunity and see what is best for that location and site. We can afford to make these decisions over time.
“The businesses are very complementary and have a lot in common. It is important to me to look after and respect what Roger and his team have built and to build on that.”
Staughton said that the group would continue to look to acquire a further two to three new sites in its current financial year and that a possible downturn on the back of Brexit may provide further opportunities for expansion.
He said: “This acquisition is on top of our usual strategy of looking to acquire two to three sites a year. We are not putting our normal investment plans on hold. This (Bath Ales) is an exciting addition to that. The smart businesses will be looking at opportunities. We are in this for the long-term. We might be in for a tough few months, but life will go on. If it is equal to the last recession then we will face up to it, get through it and look to grow again.”