The deal includes the entirety of Fuller’s beer, cider and soft drinks brewing and production, wine wholesaling and their distribution. It also includes the Griffin Brewery, Cornish Orchards, Dark Star Brewing and Nectar Imports.
Under the agreement, Asahi will acquire the brands of the beer business and the ability to use the Fuller’s name and logo. Fuller’s is expected to focus on its pub and hotel operations, which will have a “strategic alliance” with Asahi to ensure access to the Fuller’s beer brands.
In a statement announcing the proposed sale, Fuller’s said: “Having carefully considered its options for the beer business and Fuller’s existing relationship with Asahi, the board believes that Asahi is the ideal owner of the beer business and will create the right environment for the beer business to flourish in the future and protect the Fuller’s brewing heritage.
”The board welcomes the fact that Asahi also upholds Fuller’s key values of a genuine commitment to brewing excellence and has a proven track record as a long-term steward of iconic brands making them an ideal strategic partner to the Fuller’s pubs and hotels business in the future.”
‘Protecting the future’
Simon Emeny, chief executive of Fuller’s, said the deal would secure the future of the business. “This deal secures the future of both parts of our business including protecting the heritage of the Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, which was particularly important to the Fuller’s board. We remain incredibly proud of the Fuller’s beer business, its history and the high quality premium beer and cider portfolio that we have developed. Brewing has formed an integral part of our history and brand identity, however the core of Fuller’s and the driver of our future growth is now our premium pubs and hotels business.”
Akiyoshi Koji, chief executive of Asahi Group Holdings, added: “We have long admired the brewing business and exceptional beer brands that Fuller’s has built over the years and the high degree of respect it commands throughout the global beer industry. Fuller’s is one of the few brewers that show the same genuine commitment to brewing excellence and quality that we do.
“We strongly believe that the brands of the beer business, including London Pride, Frontier and Cornish Orchards among others, complement our premium portfolio in the UK market. In particular, London Pride is a fantastic brand with an illustrious heritage dating back to the 1950s and we are excited about its untapped international potential which Asahi has the scale and global network to unlock.”
Interest in Marston’s
Shore Capital research analyst Greg Johnson said that this proposed transaction “supports our long-term belief in the inherent value in quality UK beer and brand assets” and will create interest in rival brewer Marston’s Beer Company.
“Marston’s Beer Company currently distributes to around a quarter of the pubs in the UK market with around 90% of own brewed volume now sold outside Marston’s own pubs. We continue to believe it is a valuable asset in its own right.”