The expanding Curious Brewery, in Ashford, Kent, has acquired the brands of Wild Beer Co, the Somserset brewer which ceased trading last month.
The deal involves the brands and inetllectual property of the former brewery, but not the Somerset site or the brewkit.
This is a major milestone for the new management team at Curious Brewery, who hit the ground running in 2021 when the company was bought by entrepreneur Luke Johnson’s Risk Capital Partners.
The acquisition will double the size of the existing Curious operation. Curious has a current production capacity of five million pints per year and potential to expand upwards of 15 million pints per year.
Curious Brewery chairman, Mark Crowther, said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with some of the original team from Wild Beer Co to maintain the original innovative and creative spirit of that business.
“Adding their delicious craft beers to our stable of award-winning premium brands, Wild Beer Co’s range fits perfectly alongside our existing portfolio, delivering a range of interesting and differentiated beers.
“The Wild Beer Co acquisition brings a lot of positives including high-quality beers and distinctive brands, impressive distribution in both the on and off-trade, as well as a significant direct-to-consumer ecommerce operation.
“This new chapter for Wild Beer Co will bring some stability, placing the business on a sure footing. For Curious, this is an important step in our journey to become one of the UK’s leading brewers of specialist, premium beer and ciders.”
Honouring subscriptions and discounts
Following the transaction, Wild Beer Co’s portfolio — led by flagship brew, Wild IPA — will sit alongside Curious’ premium English lager, Curious Brew, which is brewed with Champagne yeast, and its award-winning Curious Session IPA and Curious Apple cider.
As part of the deal, Curious Brewery intends to honour the subscriptions and regular discounts available to current members of Wild Beer Co’s Secret Cellar Club and previous shareholders.
As well as listings in many hotels, bars and restaurants, the beers of the enlarged business are sold in Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Majestic, as well as luxury department store Harrods and landmark venues such as The Royal Opera House.
Curious Brewery was acquired in April 2021 from Chapel Down by a team led by Crowther and backed by Risk Capital Partners, the private equity firm led by Luke Johnson. Prior to the change of ownership, a new multimillion-pound freehold brewery was built in 2019.
Located in Ashford, Kent, opposite the international train station, it has been described as a ‘cathedral to beer’ and includes a visitor centre, tap room and a 120-cover bar-restaurant.