Halewood Wines and Spirits has acquired a majority stake in Hawkshead Brewery, extending the drinks producer’s portfolio into beer for the first time.

The partnership will allow the Lake District brewer to build a new brewery, expand production and have access to new routes to market for its craft beers, which went into cans for the first time in November last year.

Alex Brodie, Hawkshead’s managing director, told OLN: “We are virtually at capacity now and this deal will allow us to grow the business and we also benefit from Halewood’s routes to market.

“We are a modern craft brewer and we have a bi portfolio of beers from the tradition to the decidedly leftfield ones, and Halewood likes that.

“In the modern craft brewing industry a lot of our competitors – who are also friends – are coming into the business with serious financial backing and we haven’t had that; we have grown organically from scratch. This partnership with Halewood will allow us to grow and fulfil our potential.”

Brodie, and his existing team of staff, will continue running the brewery as a standalone business. Halewood’s CEO Stewart Hainsworth said: “Hawkshead Brewery will continue to operate independently of the Halewood Group, under Alex’s leadership, with Halewood as its main distributor and investor. Hawkshead brews great beers. We are delighted to help them carry on doing what they are so passionate about.”

Brodie added: “I am convinced that Halewood share our values. We have had a long negotiation and I believe that this deal gives Hawkshead a way of getting significant investment without being absorbed into ‘big beer.’ Halewood sees small, craft and premium as the future. And they are Northern. I like that.”  

The deal marks Halewood’s first entry into British brewing. Halewood’s portfolio also includes mineral water producer Willow Water, Liverpool Gin distillery and North Wales whisky distillery Aber Falls.

Hawkshead was founded in 2002 and it has a turnover of £2.5m. It brews one million litres of beer each year.