Fuller’s Brewery Sells To Asahi For $327 Million

As far as UK beer news goes it doesn’t get much bigger than this. London’s oldest brewery has sold its entire beer and distribution operation to a Japanese major…

Established in 1845, Fuller’s is a UK institution.

Known for its flagship brews, London Pride, ESB and 1845, the company also holds almost 400 tenanted and managed pubs and hotels in the UK that are not part of this pending deal…

Although Fuller’s could hardly be considered ‘craft’ they’ve held a separate identity from larger producers like Ab InBev’s  Budweiser or Stella Artois, if only for their considerable heritage and tours of their famous Griffin Brewery remains one of London’s biggest draws.

And news of the sale to the now Tokyo-based drinks group sent shock waves across the UK’s beer industry…

This from the Campaign for Real Ale chairman, Jackie Parker…

“ CAMRA is always concerned about any consolidation in the brewing industry as it could result in a reduction in choice, value for money and quality for beer drinkers. We’re also wary of one company increasingly controlling a larger and larger share of the market, which is seldom beneficial for consumers”.

“Fuller‘s has been a family brewer in Britain for more than a hundred years, and it’s a very sad day to see such a well-known, historic and respected name exit the brewing business.”

“It would be very disappointing to see the character of Fuller’s beers change as a result of the deal. While the Fuller’s family has stressed it has sought to protect the heritage of the Griffin Brewery, we’d call on the new owners to pledge to continue brewing operations at the Chiswick site as well as show a commitment to not only continuing cask beer production, but to preserve the full range of Fuller’s, Dark Star and Gale’s beers.”

The deal, which  according to the Drinks Business “is expected to be completed in the first half of this year, includes Fuller’s entire brewing operation in addition to its brands Cornish Orchards cider, Dark Star Brewing and Nectar Imports, wine wholesaling enterprise and drinks distribution network.”

The sale once completed will leave Fuller’s as solely a pub and hotel operator, which according to the company, is the “core of the business” generating 87% of its operated profits.

In a statement the company also noted that following the deal, Fuller’s and Asahi would form a “strategic alliance” whereby Asahi acts as a “key supplier” to Fuller’s pubs and hotels.

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