Young’s pulls out of brewing

Young’s is to pull out of brewing after selling its 40% shareholding in Wells & Young’s Brewing Company to Charles Wells for £15.1m.

Wells & Young’s was formed in 2006 following the merger of both company’s brewing operations, with Charles Wells holding a majority 60% stake.

Charles and Well’s is to pay £15.1 million in cash with £5.1 million payable in February 2012, and the remaining £10 million being payable in two equal amounts in February 2013 and February 2014.

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Concern grows over influence of Joe Lewis at Mitchells & Butlers

Ron Robson, a boardroom representative of Lewis, has been working in an advisory role at M&B’s head office.

Fears about the dominance of large shareholders at pub group Mitchells & Butlers are set to deepen as a representative of the Bahamas-based financier Joe Lewis has quietly begun playing an active advisory role at the company’s head office in Birmingham.

The group’s boardroom has been in disarray for months after a stream of resignations that have reawakened concerns that billionaire shareholders Lewis, JP McManus and John Magnier – who together hold 42% of shares – have been exerting undue control.

For the past two months the board has comprised only five directors, two of whom are representatives of Lewis. Among the five, non-executives Bob Ivell and Jeremy Blood have been forced to step in as caretaker chairman and chief executive respectively while replacements are sought.

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Supermarket beer sales overtake pub beer sales for first time

British drinkers are about to consume more beer from supermarkets than from pubs for the first time, as millions stay away from their local. 

The figures come just two weeks after a report suggested that visits to local pubs had fallen by 19pc in the last year, further threatening the future of one of the great British institutions.

Back in the 1970s more than 90pc of all beer drunk in Britain was bought from the “on trade” – pubs and clubs, with less than 10pc brought from the “off trade” of supermarkets and off-licences.

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The Telegraph: The Village that saved its pub

Residents of a remote spot in Cumbria banded together to keep their local inn open. David Cameron is cheered – but can it prosper on community spirit alone?

Standing on a narrow fell road in the thinly populated wilds of Cumbria, the Butchers Arms is the kind of modest-to-a-fault pub you’d be most likely to find when lost and then think: “I wonder how that old joint keeps going?” It would be a fair question, too. Especially at a time when 30 pubs a week are closing down, most of them in more promising locations than the Butchers Arms.

All last week, though, the Butchers was heaving. David Cameron dropped in recently for a drink and to offer his best wishes for the venture. Inquiries about visiting came from all over the world, and television broadcast vans rumbled past rickety sheep pens into the village of Crosby Ravensworth, a place whose 300 residents just may have broken the lingering death lock on the traditional British pub.

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The Guardian: Cheers! It’s a real ale renaissance

Despite pub closures and a dwindling lager market, record number of microbreweries are opening.

With the eager step of a man who’s just turned 40 and found his purpose in life, Paul Walker strides in his wellies across the flagstones of the 14th-century Union Inn in Denbury, south Devon, and orders two pints of Denbury Dreamer.

We sip carefully, appreciatively. It’s a fine beer: smooth malt flavours, a lovely light floral hop finish, not a hint of bitterness. A treat. Paul closes his eyes, nods, allows himself a brief smile of intense satisfaction. “I made that,” he says.

He probably deserves his moment of contentment. He’s been up since before six, won’t finish till seven, and will almost certainly have to nip back at least once during the evening. It’s hard work, being a microbrewer, and there was a time two summers ago, a few months after he’d started, when he really thought the whole thing was about to go under.

But this summer Hunter’s Brewery, just up the road from Denbury in Ipplepen, is selling between 60 and 100 nine-gallon barrels of real ale every week to 200-plus pubs across the south-west. Capacity is set to increase sixfold within months. Paul and his wife Eline haven’t yet drawn a salary from it. But the day’s not far off.

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