Marston's to merge brewing arm with Carlsberg UK in £780m deal

Cornelia Mascio
Mag 22, 2020

Paul Vials, who runs the Cherry Tree in Norwich, at the pub doing some painting and renovation, said: "I don't think it will make too much of a difference except it might mean we can sell other Carlsberg products".

Brewer Marston's is to merge with Carlsberg's UK arm, uniting ales such Pedigree and Hobgoblin with Danish Pilsner and Somersby cider.

"The joint venture's brand portfolio will allow us to offer a significantly stronger beer portfolio to our United Kingdom customers".

"Our intent for the Carlsberg Marston's Brewing Company is for it to become a platform for growth for all of our customers and suppliers, offering a bigger beer portfolio of complementary global, national and regional brands".

Carlsberg Marston's Brewing Company will boast assets that include Carlsberg UK's Northampton brewery, London Fields Brewery and national distribution centre, as well as Marston's six national and regional breweries - Marston's, Banks's, Wychwood, Jennings, Ringwood and Eagle - plus 11 distribution depots.

Despite the growth of craft beer in the United Kingdom over the past decade, small breweries have struggled in the face of a fightback from global brewing giants, some of which have sought to cash in on changing tastes by buying out smaller operators.

Carlsberg, popular for its Danish pilsner, Export and Tuborg beers, is owned by Copenhagen-listed Carlsberg A/S CARLb.CO .

Chief executive Ralph Findlay commented, 'Marston's will play a key role in the prospects of the combined entity which represents an exciting new chapter in Marston's established brewing heritage and future potential, whilst enabling it to further reduce its debt and focus on maximising value from its high quality pub estate'. Richard Westwood, current managing director of Marston's Beer Company will act as Chief operating officer, charged with integrating and streamlining the joint venture.

The move, the latest in a series of deals within the United Kingdom beer industry, will establish the Carlsberg Marston's Brewing Company.

A rise in supermarket sales in the first three months of the year was not enough to compensate losses due to the widespread closure of bars and restaurants. Already, On-trade revenues have fallen 6% in Europe, but 't Hart warned there will be more trouble ahead if social distancing measures continue to be enforced throughout the year.

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