Fuller's acquires Dark Star Brewery

Fuller’s, the London brewer, has bought Brighton-based brewery Dark Star.

Fuller’s will take a 100% stake in the Dark Star business, giving the Sussex brewer access to the funds to invest in new markets and increase sales of its beer brands, which include Hophead, APA, Dark Star Original and Revelation.

Dark Star will continue to operate as a standalone business while managing director, James Cuthbertson, will continue to lead the business.

Cuthbertson said: “The partnership with Fuller’s; another independent brewer with fantastic heritage and great beer at its very core, will allow us to take the brewery to the next level.

“The deal means we will continue to do what we do, but gives us huge opportunities to brew more one-off small batch beers hand-in-hand with exploring the export market and expanded bottle and can formats.

He added: “We have always described Dark Star as more of a hobby that got out of control than a business, an ethos that will remain at the centre of what we do and what we are about, after all, beer should be fun and accessible.”

Simon Dodd, managing director of The Fuller’s Beer Company, said: “Following on from the success we have had with our acquisition of Cornish Orchards, we have been looking at similar opportunities to invest in and work with young, exciting companies that have a similar ethos and commitment to quality as Fuller’s. Following discussions with James and the team at Dark Star, we could see that we could add real benefit to the Dark Star business and it provides a great new range of delicious cask beers that will enhance the Fuller’s portfolio.

“The question ‘why now’ is basically because Fuller’s brewery is a business which is changing; 10 years ago we relied on London Pride, ESB and cask to drive our growth. Now we have a successful wholesale business in Nectar, a vibrant range of key and cask beers, an artisanal cider business, a small batch pilot plant and are producing over 35 different beers a year.”

The craft brewer Dark Star was founded in 1994 in the cellar of Brighton’s Evening Star pub.

Fuller’s was founded in 1845. It recently launched Fullers & Friends, a series of collaborations with craft breweries including Thornbridge, Cloudwater and Fourpure.