West Berkshire Brewery, the David Bruce-led group, has taken on its first wholly-owned pub, MCA has learnt.

The group has acquired The Grapes in Oxford’s George Street from City Pub Group. The site was previously operated under Bath Ales’ Beerd brand.

WBB currently operates three pubs – The Depot, in Holloway, which is owned under its Renegade Pubs arm, as well as the Old Suffolk Punch in Fulham and the Oxford in Kentish Town, which come under its Downing Pubs-owned Maverick Pubs.

However, The Grapes has been acquired directly by the EIS-funded WBB and will operate as a freehouse with a focus on WBB’s range but also a selection of beers by local brewers.

Bruce told MCA: “By my standards we’re progressing pretty steadily but I’m afraid I’ve become a very boring old fart and have been focussed squarely on our shiny new brewery. I’m the opposite of Fuller’s! But, when a stonker of a pub like this comes along, we’d be mad not to look at it.

“I can’t resist a new project so I’m sure there will be more pubs coming up but for now there’s nothing else planned.”

Bruce said like-for-like sales at the brewery were up 124% in 2018