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ALCOHOL St Peter’s Brewery seeks retail expansion for Curious Brewery and Wild Beer Co following acquisition

Published in The Grocer

St Peter’s Brewery plans to leverage its off-trade expertise to help grow the Curious Brewing and Wild Beer Co brands following its purchase of the Kent brewer.

CEO Derek Jones told The Grocer the acquisition of Curious Brewing gave the Suffolk-outfit “a fairly formidable portfolio” of brands with strength in both the on and off-trade.

“St Peter’s Brewery does really well in 500ml bottle predominantly sold in the multiples in supermarkets,” he said. “If you take a look at the profile of Curious and Wild brands, they are extremely strong in the on-trade and in wholesale.”

“I think we’ve unlocked quite a lot of potential by bringing the brands together,” he added.

Beers from Wild Beer Co were only available in Waitrose (according to Assosia data) as The Grocer published this story. St Peter’s beers are sold in Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Morrisons and Tesco, with “almost all” of its volume coming from off-premise and export, according to Jones.

The St Peter’s CEO admitted the reputation of Wild Beer Co had been “recently tarnished” after the original business fell into administration before being bought by Curious in January.

He reaffirmed his belief, however, that both brands would be a “very easy sell to buyers”.

“I think there’s a large opportunity for the brands to grow significantly in the off-trade,” he said.

St Peter’s would keep producing barrel-aged and seasonal brews from the Wild brand, but Jones admitted the focus would be on “three or four variants” that would lead the brand’s presence in the on and off-trade.

The purchase of Curious Brewing effectively doubles St Peter’s capacity, with the addition of the Kent brewery coming alongside expansion in Suffolk due to come online early next year.

Jones said “in the fullness of time” the business could look to drive efficiencies by producing cans and bottles for all three brands at one brewery, and draught beer at the other. For the time being, however, he said the two businesses would be kept separate.

“There will be technical and brewing questions that we should ask, rather than commercial ones, but obviously, over time, we’d want to engineer the most scalable and cost-effective way of running the business,” he added.