Wells & Youngs takes McEwans and Youngers

Wells & Young's takes McEwan's and Younger's

The MD of Wells & Young's has told just-drinks that the acquisition of McEwan's and Younger's beer brands from Heineken UK will significantly strengthen the brewer's business.

McEwan's and Younger's have annual combined retail sales of around GBP80m (US$123m) and will be the largest two brands in the Wells & Young's portfolio, Nigel McNally told just-drinks today (4 October). 

His comments followed Wells & Young's announcement that it will buy the brands, together with the remaining 17% of the Courage beer brands that it does not already own, from Heineken UK. Financial details were not disclosed.

McNally declined to put a figure on the deal, but the move is a lift for Wells & Young's following the loss of its licences on Corona and Red Stripe lager in the UK. In August, meanwhile, Young & Co's Brewery announced that it would quit Wells & Young's, leaving Charles Wells as the sole owner of the brewer.

While McNally would not give out precise volume figures on McEwan's, he said: "McEwan's is one of the top ten premium ales in the UK off-trade. It will add a huge amount of volume our off-trade business."

He said that the group sees opportunities to expand its geographic reach. "This will give us more distribution in the Scottish market and we want to extend the distribution of McEwan's and Younger's across the UK, " he said. Meanwhile, the brewer is keen to use the brands to develop its export business.

Heineken will retain supply rights on the brands in independent free trade accounts and for pubs within the Scottish & Newcastle Pub Company. Wells & Young's plans to open an office in Scotland and has said that it will continue to brew McEwan's draught ales in the country.