Charles Wells boosts Red Stripe presence with rock venue buyout

Regional brewer Charles Wells is strengthening the links between its premium lager, Red Stripe, and live music by buying two London rock venues.

Charles Wells is part of the McKenzie Group consortium, which is paying Break for the Border 5.4m for the Brixton Academy and the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. The amount includes about 1.9m of debt.

The brewer’s main brands – its Jamaican premium lager Red Stripe, plus its beer brands Fargo and Bombardier – will be served at both venues and will benefit from any media coverage of live music events.

Ian Howard, the McKenzie Group’s managing director, resigned as chief executive of Break for the Border last August to facilitate the buyout.

The Brixton Academy holds more than 4,000 people, while the Shepherds Bush Empire can hold 2,000. The marketing push behind Red Stripe and its associations with music comes as Charles Wells rolls out a newly-designed font for the draught version of the brand. It will be supported by a 4m marketing campaign this year.

Meanwhile, the company’s management has been restructured following the retirement of former chairman and managing director John Wells. Nigel McNally, marketing director for Charles Wells, has been promoted to commercial director with additional responsibility for take-home sales and exports. Alec Monk, existing non-executive director, has been appointed chairman, Tom Wells vice-chairman and Paul Wells managing director.

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