Venture Pub Company founder Darren Peachey has told M&C Report he has been courted by pubcos along the firm’s meteoric rise to 18 pubs in under two years – and said he is now eyeing freeholds.

The company, which is about to open its first pub with Star Pubs & Bars - the Bricklayers Arms, also has eight leases with Punch Taverns, including one being converted to the pubco’s new Mighty Local brand; a similar number with Enterprise Inns and one with Spirit. Peachey said the most recent company to approach him was Marston’s.

Venture started with tenancies at will and currently has an even split between TAWs and leases – with its pubs located within 60 miles of their Peterborough base – stretching out to Leicester and Nottingham.

Peachey founded the company with his partner Kelly and her mother Therese Gallagher, who has 30 years’ experience in the pub trade, much of it spent with Northamptonshire-based Kelly Taverns.

Peachey told M&C Report: “We started out with some tenancies at will and it’s grown organically from there. To be honest we haven’t really gone out of our way to target pubs, they have just come along. The pub companies have seen what we have done and obviously like that.

“We’re not reinventing the wheel – we take these places on, invest in them and make sure the offer is right. We don’t take the mickey and try to grab a few extra pounds here and there with things like buying out. We have a good relationship with the pubcos.

“We’ve just been contacted by someone at Marston’s who said they liked what we were doing and would be interested in working with us.”

On growth plans he said: “We always had in our mind that we would get to 20 as the first stage and we should do that fairly soon. From there the sky is the limit. We are in the position where we could drop some out and add in new ones to make sure the quality is there throughout.

“I would love to have a freehold and that’s definitely something we will explore.”