Charles Wells

A Charles Wells Bowman Stout beer mat

Marston’s cheers £55m Charles Wells acquisition

Black Country brewer Marston’s has acquired Bedford-based brewery Charles Wells in a deal worth £55m.

Charles Wells is home to leading ale brands such as Bombardier, Courage, and McEwan’s and also has the UK distribution rights for Kirin Lager, Estrella Damm, Erdinger among others.

As part of the deal, Marston’s will also own wine merchants Cockburn & Campbell and all employees at the brewery in production, national sales, and brands marketing will transfer to Marston’s.

Ralph Findlay, chief executive officer of Marston’s, said: “Marston’s is delighted to have reached this agreement with Charles Wells and is absolutely committed to the future of brewing in Bedford.

“This agreement offers us opportunities to extend our trading area into new areas. The acquisition of the Charles Wells brewing business builds on Marston’s established brewing prowess and is a further step in our objective to develop the leading premium beer business in the UK market, something that Bedford’s Eagle Brewery will play an important part in.”

Marston's released details of the acquisition alongside its half-year results, which showed a 3% rise in underlying revenue to £440.8m in the 26 weeks to 1 April, despite the later scheduling of the Easter holidays this year.

Justin Phillimore, chief executive of Charles Wells Ltd, added: “We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Marston’s to acquire our brewery and become a close trading partner.

“After a detailed review of our strategy we had decided to re-balance the company more towards retail investment and that meant finding a partner we could work with for the future.

“There are opportunities for both companies in this deal and we look forward to bringing them to life.”

Marston’s, which owns Two For One and Pitcher & Piano, also said it is on schedule to open a further 23 pubs and bars and eight lodges in the current financial year due to its strong financial footing.