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Tue 6th Jan 2015 - Liberation Group buys Somerset-based Butcombe
Liberation Group buys Somerset-based Butcombe: The Channel Islands brewer and retailer Liberation Group has acquired the Somerset-based Butcombe Brewery, creating a business that operates 94 pubs, bars and eateries, two breweries brewing more than 30,000 barrels of beer and retail and wholesale operations employing more than 750 staff, with plans to expand the pub estate. The Liberation Group was formed in 2008 after a management buy-out backed by LGV Capital supporting a management team led by Mark Crowther. The company has 75 predominantly freehold pubs, the Liberation Brewery (formerly the Jersey Brewery) and two retail and wholesale drinks supply businesses. Butcombe Brewery was founded in 1978 and operates 19 managed pubs. In a statement, Liberation said the combined business will benefit from stronger buying power and supply opportunities, enabling Liberation Group to sell Butcombe beers in the Channel Islands, while exporting Liberation ales on draught and in bottles into UK pub chains and supermarkets "with whom Butcombe already has excellent relationships". Mark Crowther, chief executive of Liberation Group, said: “We have been looking for some time for the right UK business to acquire as part of our longer-term growth strategy. This marks the start of the exciting next chapter for Liberation and Butcombe both of whom share the same passion for quality beers and great pubs. The enlarged group provides the perfect bridge head platform for further future growth in the UK market.” Guy Newell, managing director of Butcombe Brewery, said: “We have had significant interest from several UK pub and drinks businesses, but for us Liberation Group was by far the best fit with our business. They share our ethos for high-quality products and service and have proved, as we have, that being independent does not necessarily prevent you from being recognised for excellence alongside some of the biggest global names in the industry. This is a new chapter for both businesses and all of the team here is looking forward to being a part of that.” Steven Phillips, director at LGV Capital, said: “This is an exciting development for Liberation and Butcombe and we are delighted to support a first-class management team to continue the development and growth of the group.” Liberation Group said it intends to invest in Butcombe Brewery’s existing pubs and seek brand consistency across the group and plans to refresh the food offering with more local produce and recipes. Expansion is planned to build a portfolio of food-led managed and high quality tenanted pubs, while continuing the growth and development of the Butcombe beer and cider range. In its most recent result, Butcombe reported that sales rose £300,000 to £18,280,000 in the year to 28 February 2014. Ebitda fell 6% to £2.1m and pre-tax profit was £1.02m, up from £561,000 the year before.

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