Tim Dewey, chief executive of Timothy Taylor’s, has told MCA the next pubs acquired by the brewer are likely to go into its managed estate.
The West Yorkshire-based company, which last year acquired its first pub for seven years – the Devonshire, in Grassington – is targeting Ilkely, Harrogate and York for its next openings, Dewey said.
After a period of consolidation, the company now operates 17 pubs, of which just two are currently managed – the Lord Rodney in the company’s hometown of Keighley and the Woolly Sheep in Skipton.
However, Dewey said the likely outlay on sites in the target locations made a managed model a more viable option.
He said the group was likely to target one or two acquisitions a year going forward.
He told MCA: “We are just coming to the end of our financial year and while the previous year took in our Champion Beer of Britain win, which gave the brewing side a fillip in terms of the number of guest spots we were getting, this year the pubs have really stepped in to fill the gap.”
On growth plans, he said: “We still want to orient towards tenanted pubs going forward but there is a recognition that the managed pubs we have are doing really well and we have the capacity to manage one or two others within our existing resource, So, while in the past we may have ruled out further managed pubs, now it is a consideration. For a couple of key sites we are interested in we recognise that the cost of those will require them to be managed.”
He added: “We have some irons in the fire. I’d be disappointed if there wasn’t some action over the next six months.”
Dewey said Ilkley, Harrogate and York were key locations because they combined a strong local market with a tourist element.
On the ultimate scope for the pub estate, he said: “It’s less about numbers and more about areas. I think we will always be a brewery with pubs as opposed to some brewers who have moved into being essentially retailers.
“Money has always been set aside with the idea of adding two pubs a year. I think it’s more likely we’ll do one a year but it’ll be a bigger one, then there might be years where we’ll get a few smaller ones.”