National award-winning brewer and pub company operator Ossett Brewery has sold a 50% stake in the group business.
It includes Ossett Brewery and its 26 retail sites, including 19 traditional pubs and restaurants, four ale and live music-centric bars trading as The HOP, the recently formed new business of Salt Beer Factory and its own city centre bars branded Craft Asylum.
Mark Hunter is the new co-owner of the company and will take a seat on the board but will not form part of the day-to day operational management team. The brewery will continue to be led by co-owner and pub company founder, Jamie Lawson. Brewery founder Bob Lawson will remain as non-executive chairman.
Hunter is new to the industry of brewing and pubs but is co-founder of software industry firm, Leeds-based BJSS. He is expected to bring strategic experience at board level after growing BJSS into a global leader in its field with clients including the NHS, government departments, leading FTSE companies as well as platforms for the Paris and Vienna stock exchanges. Employing over 1000 people, BJSS has grown organically and operates from offices located across the UK and the USA.
Jamie Lawson said: “Since my father founded the brewery in 1998, and I founded the pub company in 2003, we have grown beyond all recognition and merged into one group in 2016. Taking on a business partner with Mark’s experience at this time will provide funding and knowledge for the next, really exciting chapter of our growth.
“Our strategy is to take advantage of our newly developed and modernised brewery in Ossett through increased production whilst growing our freehold Ossett pub estate. Salt Beer Factory, based in the UNESCO village of Saltaire, will begin canning its own products in 2019 with exciting new IPA and lager products launched in keg and canned format. Salt also plans to open new Craft Asylum sites next year after the success of the first two sites in Leeds city centre.”
Licensed property agents Simon Hall at Fleurets and James Boshier advised the parties on the transaction.