New co-owner for brewery and pub operator

10 December 2018

New co-owner for brewery and pub operator

A brewery and pub operator with 26 sites across Yorkshire has sold a 50 per cent stake to the co-founder of a Queen's Award-winning IT consultancy.

Ossett Brewery's portfolio includes 19 traditional pubs and restaurants, four ale and live music-centric bars trading as The HOP, the recently formed Salt Beer Factory business and the city centre bars branded Craft Asylum.   

Mark Hunter, co-founder of Leeds-based IT consultancy BJSS, has acquired a 50 per cent stake in 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.

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 2 sites in Leeds city centre."

Simon Hall at Fleurets and James Boshier advised the parties on the transaction.