Family run brewery sips success

William Robinson amd Oliver Robinson

Robinsons Brewery, a 182-year-old family run business from Stockport led by cousins William and Oliver Robinson has increased turnover to £75.0m for the year ended 31 December 2019.

Despite this success the firm states it is planning with caution for the continued impact of Covid-19 which in 2020 has led to it offering “a 60% rent reduction between March and November” to its licensees.

The 2019 results included the sale of the firm’s free trade business to LWC, which allowed it to focus on its tenanted pubs, managed pubs, contract brewing and bottling businesses, all of which saw growth. In fact the independent brewer and pub operator acquired 7 pubs including the Individual Inns business in December 2019 and has invested a further £7.6m including significant investments at 19 pubs during 2019 alongside many smaller developments.

In addition to turnover growth the business saw group operating profit increase by 13.5% to £3.7m, with results boosted by a strong trading performance and effective cost management across the business. In particular, the managed pub business increased significantly contributing £14.3m to turnover, while the tenanted estate turnover grew by 2.0% and profit by 2.5%. This was despite a reduction in the number of tenanted pubs, through one disposal and eight transfers to the managed estate.

William Robinson, managing director of the firm’s pub division, said: “We were understandably delighted to have acquired the Individual Inns business last December. This contributed to the doubling of the number of managed sites providing accommodation, as well as enhancing our estate in Cumbria and adding our first ever managed pubs in Yorkshire. In addition, we have completed some great managed investments including the historic Legh Arms in Prestbury and the George III in Penmaenpool – surely one of the best estuary views in the UK. Over the last five years, we have developed a managed estate with pubs in exceptional locations; we remain acquisitive for the right opportunities.

“We have now invested £34.4m in 146 pub developments in last 6 years giving us a great estate and in the current climate I am glad that we have such strength in ‘staycation’ locations in places like North Wales, Derbyshire and Cumbria with little dependency on city centres. However, the industry cannot come out of the current period unsupported and will continue to support the great work of the BBPA as they seek to secure an extension of the Business Rates support and address their wider reform, as well as seeking a long term continuation of the VAT reduction.

Looking to the future he added: “Whilst these are obviously troubling times for all, our family business is well-funded and we secured independent bank funding outside the government backed CBILS loans.

“We have a strong leadership team who are experienced and focused to meet the present challenges. We will continue to grow our managed business through investment and acquisition, additionally our tenanted strategy of long-term sustainable growth has not changed. To date our considerable support for our licensees has included a 60% rent reduction between March and November as well as the replacement of all their spoilt beer. Presently the hospitality sector looks towards this autumn and winter with understandable concern and we will have to plan for 2021 with caution.

“Longer term, we remain optimistic about the opportunity for growth while remaining committed to supporting our great licensees and team members at the brewery and within our pub estate as much as possible.”