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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Sat 30th Dec 2023 - Investment firm Breal Group acquires Purity Brewing Co
Investment firm Breal Group acquires Purity Brewing Co: London investment firm Breal Group – which has so far this year acquired D&D London, Brew by Numbers, Black Sheep Brewery, Brick Brewery and Vinoteca – has acquired the assets of Warwickshire-based Purity Brewing Co for an undisclosed sum. Breal said the deal “further strengthens our growing portfolio of investments in the brewing and hospitality sectors and underlines our commitment to the industry as-a-whole”. Breal added Purity Brewing Co had been an acquisition target since early 2023, and the move will secure the long-term future of the business and is set to help retain jobs within the brewery. Purity Brewing Co was established in 2005, and since then has established itself as one of the UK’s most respected independent breweries. Its portfolio includes Mad Goose IPA, Longhorn IPA and Lawless Lager, each produced at its farm-based brewing facility in the Warwickshire countryside. It also operates a taproom and kitchen in the heart of Birmingham. Its commitment to sustainability sees it use the latest heat-and-steam technology to reduce energy consumption at its 90,000 hectolitres brewery. Meanwhile, it is also currently seeking B Corp accreditation status, and uses a natural “wetland” system that cleanses its waste water, in addition to spent hops used as fertiliser on the local farm. In its latest available accounts for the year ending 31 August 2022, Purity Brewing Co turned over £9,480,594, an increase from £6,967,389 the previous year. Ebitda stood at a loss of £87,000 down from a profit of £118,000 the year before. The business made a pre-tax loss of £635,000, up from a loss of 3259,000 the previous year. John Hunt, managing director at Purity Brewing Co, said: “We all know the brewing industry has had a turbulent time of late, and like many others, the business has certainly felt the pressure of rising costs. However, we’re incredibly pleased Breal recognises the value and uniqueness of our offering and had the vision to invest in securing the future of the brewery. We’re very much looking forward to continuing to brew our much-loved, award-winning beers and delighting drinkers in the Midlands, London and beyond.” Purity Brewing Co joins Black Sheep Brewery, as well as London-based Brew by Numbers and Brick Brewery in the Breal Group’s growing brewery portfolio.

JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin knighted in New Year Honours list: JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin has been knighted in the New Year Honours list. Martin, who founded the pub company in London in 1979 and has grown the business to more than 800 sites, has been knighted for services to hospitality and culture. Meanwhile, chefs Simon Rogan and Adam Handling were awarded MBEs, for services to the hospitality industry. An outspoken figure in the industry, Martin has long campaigned for a lower hospitality VAT rate and was a prominent pro-Brexit voice in the 2016 referendum. Sir Tim, who was born in Norwich, has been the company's chairman since 1983. The businessman had previously studied law and qualified as a barrister. His first venue was in Muswell Hill, north London, and was originally called Martin's Free House, before being renamed JD Wetherspoon the following year. The company floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1992. In its early years the company's pubs were all in the capital but from the 1990s it expanded across the UK. He said: “Above all, Wetherspoon's success has been due to a team effort over 44 years. Very many thanks indeed to the customers, colleagues, suppliers, designers, contractors and others, present and departed, who have contributed to this honour.” Rogan received an MBE for services to the food industry. The chef, recognised as one of the pioneers of the farm-to-table movement, oversees ten restaurants in the UK and overseas, including three-Michelin-starred L'Enclume in Cumbria. Handling has been given an MBE for services to hospitality and international trade. He was recognised for his work in 2023 as an ambassador for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland marketing campaign, which is designed to promote both countries around the world. Born in Scotland, his career began at Gleneagles at the age of 16, where he was the first ever apprentice chef, before going on to become Fairmont’s youngest ever head chef. Almost two decades on, he is now the chef owner of the Adam Handling Restaurant Group, which includes his Michelin-starred flagship restaurant Frog by Adam Handling in London, alongside Ugly Butterfly in Cornwall, his pub, restaurant, and rooms The Loch & the Tyne in Old Windsor, and Eve Bar in London. Handling said: “It’s incredible to be appointed an MBE for two things that mean the most to me – education and hospitality. I always instil education, inspiration, motivation into my team – that’s our ethos and how we work every day. Inspiring not only my team but also our guests, the future of the industry and the wider public in terms of what British food is all about, in a sustainable and luxury manner, is what I set out to do and what I intend to continue to focus on.” A CBE was awarded to former England cricketer Stuart Broad MBE, who is owner of the Cat and Wickets pub company in the Midlands. There was also MBEs for Nick Johnson and Jenny Thompson, who reinvented the 700-year-old Altrincham Market as a thriving food hall, and Gordon McIntyre, founder of the Hospitality Health charity to support the well-being of industry staff. JD Wetherspoon features in the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book. Its turnover of £1,925,000,000 for the year to 30 July 2023 is the sixth highest in the database. The Blue Book ranks companies by turnover, profit and profit conversion, listing directors’ earnings for the past five years. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £995 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £495 plus VAT for operators and £595 plus VAT for suppliers. Email kai.kirkman@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription.

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