£182m Morlands deal fuels Greene King marketing rejig

Regional brewing and pub group Greene King is to review its marketing strategy following its £182m takeover of Thames Valley brewer Morlands.

The Morlands deal adds 400 pubs to Greene King’s expanding estate in the South of England, bringing its total number of pubs to 1,600.

The takeover also brings Morlands’ highly-regarded Old Speckled Hen and Ruddles brands into the Greene King fold. Both brands are expected to benefit from a major boost in marketing support.

Greene King’s Abbott Ale and IPA brands are handled by McCann-Erickson, while Gloucester-based agency RPG Advertising handles Morlands’ bottled and cask ale brands.

The two companies have a combined spend of £1.5m, but this is likely to increase as Sussex-based Greene King throws its weight behind the newly-acquired brands.

Greene King commercial director Nicholas Corke says: “By having a combined portfolio we will be able to put more support into the brands and build them. It is too early to say what this will mean in terms of increased spend.

“We have got to review our specific plans. We will be focusing on Greene King IPA, Abbott Ale, Ruddles and Old Speckled Hen, which already has a national presence in the take-home market. The other brands perform well in pubs through the guest ale scheme.”

Morlands and Greene King’s marketing departments are expected to merge following the takeover.

The deal also spells the end for Morlands’ brewery in Abingdon, with the loss of 130 jobs.

The Morlands takeover follows Greene King’s recent acquisition of Beards of Sussex, including 43 pubs, and 165 former Marston pubs from Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries.

The Morlands board, including chief executive Mike Watts, will be leaving the company.

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