The Rock-based brewery, best known for its Doom Bar brand, was bought by North American brewing giant Molson Coors in a £20m deal in February.
Martyn Cozens, Molson Coors sales md for the Wales and West, said the new owner had been delighted with the brewery’s performance in the first 10 weeks of its ownership.
He told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “Sharp’s is a great business with great brands. It is in exponential growth at the moment; it is at full capacity satisfying existing demand. We have been delighted with performance. Our biggest priority is to invest to increase capacity so that we can leverage the Molson Coors routes to market as well.”
Investment to boost capacity
Molson Coors would be investing over the next two to three years, with the priorities being to add more conditioning and fermenting vessels, improve the efficiency of the racking line where beers are decanted into casks and to put in place a waste water treatment plant.
Molson Coors wanted to distribute Sharp’s beers in its own distribution channels, including 10,000 pubs and clubs, multiple retailers and export markets in the US and Canada, Cozens said.
He emphasised that Molson Coors remained committed to Sharp’s smaller brands, including Chalky’s Bark and Cornish Coaster, as well as its flagship Doom Bar brand.
Craft brewery commitment
He commented: “Sharp’s will be run as a craft brewery; we will maintain its distinctiveness as an independent business and it will not be integrated into the core Molson Coors business.”
Molson Coors already owns various craft brands including Blue Moon, Creemore Springs, alongside a portfolio which includes Coors Light, Miller Lite, Carling and Cobra.
Sharp's was founded in 1994 by Bill Sharp and originally developed as a traditional local brewery. It was acquired in 2003 by Nick Baker and Joe Keohane who set about selling the beer to a younger audience across the UK. As a result, volumes rose from 25,000 brewers barrels a year in 1993 to 75,000 last year.
Browne’s the Chocolatiere link
Cozens explained that the two entrepreneurs felt that they had taken the business as far as they could. They wanted Molson Coors to unlock its further growth potential and make the further investment required.
The two have just bought Okehampton’s Browne’s Chocolates out liquidation, forming a new company, Browne’s the Chocolatiere.