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Sadler's Ian King and Chris Sadler: Halewood's acquisition of majority stake follows that of Cumbria's Hawkshead Brewery last March

Halewood acquires a second brewery

Global drinks distributor Halewood Wines & Spirits has demonstrated its ambitions in the UK craft beer sector, sealing its second deal this year with a prominent local brewer.

Black Country-based Sadler’s Brewing Company now joins Cumbria’s Hawkshead Brewery in the Halewood stable, giving it access to the company’s global network and routes to market, alongside marketing and promotional support.

Halewood has acquired a majority stake in Sadler’s with the existing management to stay in place. The purchase price has not been disclosed.

Sadler’s sales director Ian King welcomed the deal as giving the family firm the opportunity for “much wider distribution, while retaining our control as a craft brewer and being left alone to do what we do best.

“It’s very early days and we’re still working on our strategy, but Halewood delivers all over the world so the potential is there. It’s very exciting for us.

“At the same time, being strong in our own backyard is important to us, and our top priority is to maintain that niche status” – a status reinforced earlier this week when Sadler’s was named Best Brewery in the Midlands Food, Drink and Hospitality Awards.

The lead brand for export is likely to be Peaky Blinder, a 4.4% black IPA that has taken off in the last couple of years after being launched as a limited edition brew on the back of the eponymous television drama set in 1920s Birmingham.

Sadler’s already exports on a small scale to Scandinavia, France, Romania and Hong Kong. King said he envisaged investment in the brewery to increase capacity.

The business was originally founded in 1900 by Nathaniel Sadler and relaunched in 2004 by John Sadler whose son, Chris, is the current managing director and head brewer. In 2015 the brewery moved from its home at the Windsor Castle Inn, Oldbury, to a larger site at nearby Lye, where there is a shop and visitor centre.

“We’re proud of our family business and have a strong following throughout the Midlands and increasingly elsewhere in the UK,” said Chris Sadler. “Halewood’s investment gives us an opportunity not only to continue providing hand-crafted beers with a strong provenance locally, but to expand our reach throughout the rest of the UK and internationally.”

In a press statement, Stewart Hainsworth, group CEO at Halewood, added: “Sadler’s has a fantastic family heritage and Chris has continued the passion for creating characterful beers with a point of difference. The current Sadler’s generation is talented and visionary while upholding the original family ethos, and with Halewood’s focus on craft we’re looking forward to supporting their business.”

In March this year, the company announced it had taken a controlling stake in Hawkshead, allowing the existing management team to drive expansion.

The British-brewed brands sit in an international craft drinks portfolio that also includes Chinese beer Tsing Tao, Whitley Neill premium gins and the Liverpool spirits range.

Phil Mellows
30th June, 2017

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