Adnams snaps up riverside pubs

THREE popular riverside pubs on the Orwell and Deben have been bought by Suffolk brewer Adnams from national pub operator Punch Taverns.

THREE popular riverside pubs on the Orwell and Deben have been bought by Suffolk brewer Adnams from national pub operator Punch Taverns.

The Butt & Oyster at Pin Mill and the Ship and Levington, both a short distance outside Ipswich, and the Maybush at Waldringfield, near Woodbridge, were today hailed by Adnams as a “perfect fit” for it existing pub estate, with strong reputations for their beer, wine and food.

Chairman Jonathan Adnams said: “We are delighted that these pubs have become available as they fit perfectly with the Adnams brand and our long-term objectives to build a quality estate of pubs in our heartland of Suffolk.”

The company added in a statement: “For many years we have thought that these pubs would fit perfectly within our estate and when the opportunity arose we were delighted to complete the purchase from Punch Taverns.

“Despite these tough trading times, we have every confidence that excellent pubs will continue to thrive. All at Adnams are hugely excited about welcoming these pubs and their successful operators to the Adnams estate and we look forward to becoming custodians of these splendid examples of iconic Suffolk pubs.”

Steve and Louise Lomas of Deben Inns have been running the Maybush and the Butt & Oyster for many years while the Ship, which dates from the 14th Century and has historic associations with smuggling, is run by Mark and Stella Johnson.

Most Read

The three new additions join other riverside locations in the Adnams estate, such as the Harbour Inn at Southwold, the Bell at Walberswick and the Jolly Sailor at Orford.

With pubs currently closing at a rate of dozens a week as a result of pressures including competition from supermarkets, the effects of the smoking ban and the wider economic downturn, many pub owners - including Punch - have been seeking of off-load under-performing pubs at the bottom end of the market.

However, the three Suffolk pubs being acquired by Adnams - for an undisclosed sum - are understood to be among a number of Punch's most prized properties which it has privately offered for sale to a number of family brewing companies around the county in a move to reduce its debt.

The brewers, also believed to include Fuller's, Wells & Youngs and Shepherd Neame, are said to have been invited to draw up lists of pubs of potential interest and to put forward “decent” offers.

There is now speculation that Punch's willingness to consider offers for top-end properties such as the Maybush, the Butt & Oyster and the Ship might prompt the attentions of larger pub companies such as Mitchells & Butlers - which large year made an approach for Punch's entire managed house division, Spirit - and Suffolk-based Greene King.