Brewing heavyweights appointed to helm of Curious Brewery

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

L to R: Simon George, Mark Crowther and Matt Anderson, head of brewing and production for beer & cider, Curious Brewery
L to R: Simon George, Mark Crowther and Matt Anderson, head of brewing and production for beer & cider, Curious Brewery

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Two brewing heavyweights have been appointed to the helm of Curious Brewery, which private equity outfit Risk Capital Partners (RCP) agreed to acquire from English wine firm Chapel Down in February.

Simon George, formerly UK head of Budweiser Budvar, joins the business as managing director. Mark Crowther, who was most recently chief executive officer at Channel Islands brewing company Liberation Group, has been appointed as chairman. He previously held senior positions at Carlsberg, Brakes, and Diageo and is currently non-executive chairman at Portobello Brewery.

“We are delighted to be working with Mark and Simon, who together bring an enormous wealth of experience and expertise, adding immense value to this business,"​ said Johnson. "I couldn’t think of two better people to help unleash the potential for Curious Brewery, and we’re looking forward to supporting them as they get stuck in.”​ 

George, who will be responsible for day-to-day operations, led Budweiser Budvar in the UK for seven years before stepping down in January, and previously held senior commercial roles at Magners, Coors and Constellation Brands.

Premium range of beers and ciders

Crowther said: “This is a high-quality business with a great group of people, an exceptional, premium range of superb beers and ciders, and an extraordinary, market-leading set up with its brewery and accompanying tap room and restaurant. Now, with the support of RCP, it has one of the most experienced and supportive sector-specialist investors in the market.”

Commenting on his appointment, George said: “We see enormous potential to build this business and we are going to work very hard to ensure this fantastic collection of premium beers and ciders are available, enjoyed and shared in more places, across the UK and internationally.”​ 

The change of ownership follows a multimillion-pound development of the new brewery in 2019.

Located in Ashford

Located in Ashford, Kent, opposite the international train station it was constructed alongside a visitor centre and a 120-cover bar-restaurant. RCP said the deal would be followed with planned investments in a new bottling and canning line, as well as increased support for the sales and marketing functions. 

The brewery, which has four core brews – an award-winning lager, a session IPA, a cider and a porter – was started in 2011 by Chapel Down. The pandemic saw the group refocus on its core wine business, giving rise to the opportunity for RCP to acquire Curious Brewery.

As well as acquiring the brand and assets, the deal, which was completed earlier today, will see all of the company’s staff move across to the new set up.

Sales channels

In terms of sales channels, Curious Breweries's beers are sold in hotels, bars and restaurants, department stores Harrods and Selfridges, Waitrose, Majestic Wine, and leading arts venues such as The National Portrait Gallery. 

Commenting on the completion of the deal, Luke Johnson, who leads RCP, added: “We see terrific potential in the Curious business. Brewing will always be a cornerstone of British culture, and the craft beer revolution has only strengthened that.

Curious is a great brand made in a fabulous facility, and with our support we believe the business can be developed further. The restaurant and tap rooms will be opening to welcome guests as soon as we are allowed. We are particularly pleased to be taking on all Curious employees, who bring with them a wealth of insight and knowledge.”

Related topics: Drinks, Business Leaders

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