Blog: Sharp's Brewery is Rock solid for Molson Coors
Chris Mercer | 6 September 2011
You know the drill: big brewer swoops on small-time, passionate-yet-endearingly-haphazard beer maker and sucks the tanks dry. The only problem is that things don't look quite like that at Sharp's Brewery.
It is just over half a year since Molson Coors landed in Rock, Cornwall, to scoop up Sharp's Brewery. For the past couple of days, I've had the particularly gruelling assignment of checking out the local landscape (well, ok, mainly the beer).
You'll hear more from my time down there in a couple of days, once my head has cleared enough to make sense of the notes.
It's clear, though, that this deal was not at all the usual drill, as described above. For one thing, before Molson Coors (BC), Sharp's' previous owners did not see themselves as purveyors of artisan beer; rather more as out-and-out brand builders. They certainly did a good job on Doom Bar, which is 90% of Sharp's volumes. But, they always intended to sell up and, in January, did just that.
Head brewer Stuart Howe says that he has more time now than has ever had to work on his new-fangled beers: a good thing too, judging by the great Honey IPA and Monsieur Rock that we sampled yesterday. Previously, Howe claims he was forced to hide such experiments from the owners, who took little interest in non-Doom Bar business. "It's like Jim'll Fix It came along," Howe told us yesterday.
Howe himself is the second reason why Sharp's is slightly different from your average 'big brewer takeover story'. His engaging personality is stamped all over the place: to an extent, he is Sharp's and, for now at least, Molson Coors seems to 'get that'.
The Carling brewer also reaffirmed that it wants to continue brewing Doom Bar in Rock, over the long-term.
It's an interesting deal for all parties. We'll have more insight on it, as well as future plans for the business, in a longer piece later this week.
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