Wychwood is refreshed

18 April, 2008

Marston's has pledged to keep the Wychwood brewery in Oxfordshire open after acquiring Refresh UK. The Midlands brewer plans to build Refresh's brands -

already strong in take-home

- in pubs.

Marston's

bought Refresh for an undisclosed sum, which

chief executive Rupert Thompson called "a fair price". It plans to continue brewing brands such as Hobgoblin, Brakspear and Duchy Originals at the Wychwood brewery, as well as maintaining the company's partnerships with businesses such as Löwenbräu, Innis & Gunn and cidermaker Thatchers, which makes Hobgoblin's Green Goblin cider.

Marston's Beer Company managing director Alistair Darby said: "We are hugely committed to the Refresh business

in terms of its existing brewery in Witney.

We think it is really important to the business

."

Thompson said he sold Refresh "from a position of strength",

when its turnover was growing slightly, but profitability was increasing more rapidly. "We are on track for record profits this year," he said.

He added he had been looking

to grow Refresh significantly , but had not found a suitable acquisition target when he started talking to Marston's, which bottles and distributes several of Refresh's beers under contract.

"The fit between the two businesses was

obvious and we are anticipating to

merge

within weeks ," he said.

Thompson is to stay at the merged business for six months

before moving on to "pastures new" .




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