UK: Spanish brewer Damm buys former Charles Wells brewery

Spanish brewer S.A. Damm has agreed to buy the Eagle Brewery in Bedford, UK. Seller is the Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (CMBC) that bought the former Charles Wells brewery five years ago from the founder’s family. (, 29.5.2017) The deal does not include the Eagle Brewery’s brand portfolio, namely British ale brands Hobgoblin and Wainwright, Birrificio Angelo Poretti and Brooklyn Pilsner, that continue to stay with CMBC. The Charlie Wells and John Bull brand and the 200 leased and tenanted pubs in the UK and France are also not part of the deal as they were separated from the brewery and remained with the Wells family five years ago.

The acquisition isDamm’s first brewery outside of mainland Europe and only the second Damm brewery outside the Iberian peninsula. Damm’s new facility in the United Kingdom has a production capacity of 1 million hectolitres per year, mainly for draught beer. Opened in 1976, the brewery is strategically located just over 90 kilometers from the center of London and 120 kilometers from Birmingham, England’s two largest cities. The sale is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

CMBC and Damm have enjoyed a long, successful partnership distributing Damm’s flagship brand Estrella Damm, with the UK being one of Estrella Damm’s key export markets. Much of the partnership’s activity has taken place at the Eagle Brewery, where Estrella Damm has been packaged for the UK market since 2010.

All 67 production workers will transfer over to Damm’s workforce in the UK. CMBC’s logistics operation in Bedford will continue from its current location on the site for around the next 12 months, before moving to a new location.

“This agreement represents a new milestone in Damm’s solid internationalisation strategy, led by executive chairman Demetrio Carceller Arce,” the company said in a statement. “30% of the company’s activity is now outside Spain and its brands are in over 130 countries. The deal to acquire the Bedford brewery reinforces the company’s internationalisation project and gives Damm production facilities in a market where its portfolio of beers continues to gain market share year after year.”

"Over the last few years, we have strengthened the presence of our broad portfolio of beers in bars and restaurants around the world, backed up by our support for gastronomy and promotion of the Mediterranean lifestyle. This agreement will strengthen our position and help drive the growth of our brand in the UK, a key market for the company’s international growth. The British public can currently enjoy our products in more than 10,000 bars and restaurants, a figure we expect to continue to grow in the coming years," said Demetrio Carceller Arce, Damm’s executive chairman.

The deal is the third divestment or closure announced by CMBC within one year. In December last year, the company said to sell or close London Fields Brewery, a craft brewery based in the center of UK’s capital which was acquired by Carlsberg just four years ago for a report sum of GBP 4 million (USD 5.3m). (, 8.12.2021)

Two months ago, the brewery said it was exploring the sale of Cumbria's historic Jennings Brewery, but - surprising to many - the 200-year-old brewery already closed last week. (, 5.11.2022).

Commenting on the latest deal, Paul Davies, CEO, CMBC said: “We are pleased to be able to share the news of our deal with our long-term partner Damm, building on our successful relationship to help ensure the brewery’s prosperity.

“I am grateful to all of my colleagues and their counterparts at Damm for their collaboration throughout the process of making this agreement a reality. This significant moment for the brewery, becoming Damm’s first brewery outside mainland Europe, has been made possible thanks to the brilliant and dedicated team at the Eagle Brewery, who we will be supporting throughout the transition.”

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