Beers from UK craft brewing outfit The Wild Beer Co. are to live on after the brand was acquired by domestic peer Curious Brewery.
The Kent brewer will produce beers from The Wild Beer Co.’s range including its flagship Wild IPA and said it would be working with “some of the original team” moving forwards. Just Drinks understands Wild Beer Co.’s founders Andrew Cooper and Brett Ellis are among the employees retained by Curious Brewing.
The brewery – founded by Cooper and Ellis in 2012 – raised GBP1.8m (US$2.2m) via crowdfunding in 2017. However, as the deal with Curious Brewery does not involve the Wild Beer Co. Ltd. company – only The Wild Beer Co. intellectual property, beer (including aged stock), and e-commerce business – the more than 1,900 investors will not receive any compensation from the deal.
In October 2022, Cooper set up a new company – Wild Beer Group Ltd. The new company was not, however, involved in the purchase of The Wild Beer Co. assets by Curious Brewing. Just Drinks has asked Cooper for clarity on the status of the company and its purpose.
The deal more than doubles the size of Curious Brewery, which last year produced around 5m pints (roughly 28,000hl). The acquisition does not include the Wild Beer Co. brewery and production facility in Shepton Mallet, Somerset.
Curious Brewery chairman Mark Crowther said the deal would bring benefits including “high-quality beers and distinctive brands” as well as “impressive distribution in both the on and off-trade” and as “a significant direct-to-consumer e-commerce operation”.
He added: “We are delighted to be collaborating with some of the original team from Wild Beer Co. to maintain the original innovative and creative spirit of that business. Adding their delicious craft beers to our stable of award-winning premium brands, Wild Beer Co.’s range fits perfectly alongside our existing portfolio, delivering a range of interesting and differentiated beers.
“This new chapter for Wild Beer Co. will bring some stability, placing the business on a sure footing. For Curious, this is an important step in our journey to become one of the UK’s leading brewers of specialist, premium beer, and ciders.”
The Kent brewer said it intends to honour the subscriptions and discounts available to “current members of Wild Beer Co.’s Secret Cellar Club and previous shareholders”.
Until 2019, Curious Brewery was part of UK wine producer Chapel Down’s portfolio. The business was sold to Risk Capital Partners, a private-equity firm led by entrepreneur Luke Johnson.
The business produces drinks including its flagship English lager Curious Brew, Curious session IPA and Curious Apple cider at its brewery in Ashford, Kent. The site has the possibility to expand production to 15m pints a year.
Meanwhile, a buyer has also been found for Cornwall’s Skinners Brewery, which entered administration in October.
The identity of the Betty Stogs brewer’s new owner has not been revealed by administrators and it is not known whether the business will continue.