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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Long live the gastropub – and to hell with the Good Food Guide snobs

The G-word has been banned from the foodies’ bible The Good Food Guide. What a disgrace.

How very high-handed of The Good Food Guide, the foodies’ bible, to systematically remove the word “gastropub” from its pages. The G-word has been banned altogether from the 2012 edition of the guide, thrown into the outer darkness like a bruised plum or iffy oyster.

Why this Stalinist act of censorship, depriving readers of a useful term to which they have become accustomed? Because, according to the guide’s consultant editor Elizabeth Carter, gastropubs were a 1990s fad that has passed its sell-by date. “I think customers are getting bored with it.”

Really? Some customers may indeed have got bored with the gastropub craze, and not entirely without cause. Far too many pubs have awarded themselves the gastro prefix, hiked their prices, tarted up their menus, but not actually raised their game in the kitchen. If I had a fiver for every rocket salad I have been served in establishments that should have stuck to honest-to-God baked beans and chips…

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Average Pint Breaks £3 Barrier

The average cost of a pint has now broken the £3 barrier.

That’s according to the British Beer & Pub Association’s (BBPA) Statistical Handbook. In last year’s Handbook, the average price of a pint of bitter was £2.58 and lager £2.95.

The latest Handbook also shows that consumption in 2010 is far lower than it was six years ago.

While there was a small 0.6% rise in UK consumption per head in 2010, drinking levels are still 11% lower than they were in 2004.

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