Independent brewer and operator BrewDog has bought the Draft House group to create the UK’s leading craft beer bar network.
It has taken ownership of the 14 Draft House bars in London and Buckinghamshire, including the former Grand Union sites acquired last summer, but does not plan to convert them to the BrewDog name.
Charlie McVeigh, who founded the business nine years ago with his first Draft House in Battersea, has been replaced at the helm of the business by David McDowall, managing director of BrewDog Bars.
BrewDog is planning to invest in the current Draft House sites and said it may look to expand on them in future. The beer selection will be different from BrewDog bars but with the same focus on independent craft beer from around the world.
All 213 of Draft House staff will join BrewDog which will offer them professional Cicerone training in beer as well as support if they want to apply to the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD) and the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP).
Charlie said: “Nine years have passed since the first Draft House launched, and it has been a truly remarkable journey of discovery. We’ve built an awesome business, and more importantly, a team right at the heart of the UK’s beer revolution.
“I am immensely proud of what we’ve achieved together and delighted to hand the business over to BrewDog for its next stage of growth. Draft House couldn’t be in better hands.”
Draft House has expanded across London including bars and pubs in Tower Bridge, Old Street, Columbia Road, Hammersmith, Fitzrovia and Fetter Lane and, in 2016, it opened its first site outside of London in Milton Keynes.
It has converted the Grand Union bars it acquired last summer into the Draft House concept, adding sites in Camden, Paddington, Chancery Lane, Farringdon and Kennington.
The Aberdeenshire brewer has already grown its portfolio of BrewDog bars to 52 around the world including 35 in the UK.
David said: “At BrewDog we are obsessed with making other people as passionate about craft beer as we are, and in speaking with the Draft House team we recognised that there was a great opportunity to combine our efforts and really have an impact on the UK bar landscape by working together.
“Draft House has got an incredible team of engaged people and we’ll be doing everything we can to empower them in their business and offer them the support they need to achieve their career goals.
“The two most important things for us are our beer and our people and we’re excited to extend that to our new family at Draft House and would like to offer a massive welcome to every single one of them.”