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Marston's £25 million grab for Thwaites

Added: Tuesday, March 31st 2015

Thwaites Original

National brewing giant Marston’s has bought the family-owned Daniel Thwaites brewery in Blackburn for £25.1 million. It will give Marston's control of two elading brands, Lancaster Bomber and Wainwright's as well as more local brands such as Nutty Black mild and Original bitter.

Thwaites was founded in 1807 and is controlled by the Yerburgh family, founder Daniel Thwaites’ successors. The company owns 320 pubs in North-west England and has extensive free trade sales.

Thwaites had planned to move to a new greenfield brewery and had closed its old Blackburn plant. The company’s beers have been brewed by Marston’s since early 2014. The deal means Marston’s, based in Burton-on-Trent, now owns Banks’s of Wolverhampton, Brakspear and Wychwood in Witney, Oxon, Ringwood in Hampshire and Jennings in Cumbria.

The takeover is expected to be completed by 17 April. Marston’s expects that the Thwaites’ beers will add £1.5 million in profits this year.

Marston’s chief executive Ralph Findlay said: “We are acquiring a very high quality business with good people and brands and with growth potential. The acquisition is consistent with our beer business strategy to focus on local provenance and premium brands, and provides opportunity to capitalise on the developing free trade market and increasing consumer interest in the beer strategy.”

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, says:

"The Campaign for Real Ale believes that consumer choice is always reduced when breweries are acquired by larger operators and we're very concerned about the takeover of Thwaites, a long-established and respected regional family brewer, by Marston's. While Marston's has a relatively good history of respecting brewing heritage when it has previously taken over other breweries, such as Wychwood and Jennings, CAMRA will be paying close attention to its plans for the Thwaites' brands it has just acquired. We'd urge Marston's to retain a brewing operation in, or near Blackburn, to preserve the regional brewing history and Thwaites' name and just as importantly the jobs which the brewery currently provides in this area. We'd also urge Marston's to ensure that the individual nature and taste of Thwaites' brands are not diluted and lost as a result of this acquisition."

Tom Stainer, CAMRA Head of Communications