Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Brewery parts ways with CEO and announces sale of 21 pubs

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Devizes-based brewer Wadworth has announced the sale of 21 pubs and confirmed the imminent departure of CEO Chris Welham.

Wadworth confirmed this morning that it has sold 21 pubs to Channel Islands-based Liberation Group, the owners of owners of Bristol’s Butcombe Brewing Co, for an undisclosed sum.

Included in the sale locally are Melksham’s Kings Arms Hotel and the White Hart at Wroughton.

The company also announced that chief executive officer Chris Welham is to leave the company in December having led the business for a period of five years.

Toby Bartholomew, the son of chairman Charles Bartholomew, will take over as managing director.

On the sale of the pubs, Charles Bartholomew said: We are working with our teams in each pub to enable the seamless transition to Liberation to take place over the next four weeks.

“I would like to sincerely thank all of our people in these 21 pubs for their significant contribution to Wadworth over many years.

“All Wadworth employees in the managed sites will transfer to Liberation under TUPE. I am in no doubt that these pubs will continue to thrive under their new ownership and remain central to the local communities that they serve.”

Speaking about the management restructure, he added: “Chris has been a loyal and dedicated member of the Board and has led us through a considerable period of change. It was always the intention for Chris to oversee an orderly transition of his duties to a family director.

“I am obviously delighted that Toby will take over and that the leadership of the company once again comes back into the family fold as planned following Chris’s tenure.”

Jonathan Lawson, CEO of the Liberation Group, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming the teams of these fantastic pubs to join Liberation Group and Butcombe Brewing Co.

“We have worked closely with Wadworth to ensure that the sites we’re bringing into the Liberation Group family are the best fit for us and that the transition is smooth and successful.

“With the support of Caledonia, our ultimate shareholder, we look forward to maximising the opportunities we believe these sites present via a blended approach to the offer and environment of these pubs delivered by their great teams.”

The pubs sold to Liberation Group are:

  • Avon Causeway Hotel, Christchurch
  • Badminton Arms, near Bristol
  • Beckford, Beckford
  • Beehive, Caterton
  • Bird in Hand, Reading
  • Cotswold Gateway, Burford
  • Crown Tolldown, Dyrham
  • Dean Park Inn, Bournemouth
  • Fish, Ringwood
  • Fleet, Tewkesbury
  • Fleur De Lys, near Bath
  • Fox and Hounds, Theale
  • George Norton St Philip, near Bath
  • Goat & Tricycle, Bournemouth
  • Hadley Bowling Green
  • High Corner, Ringwood
  • Kings Arms Hotel, Melksham
  • Mill, Haslemere
  • Penny, Bristol
  • Victoria Arms, Old Marston
  • White Hart, Wroughton