In a move no doubt aimed at pulling Londoners out of gin palaces and back to the humble pub, the Draft House group has secured a flagship London venue opposite Camden Road station, as well as five other pubs in the big smoke.
The independently owned Draft House acquired the Grand Union Group for an undisclosed sum in a deal made yesterday, bringing its total number of venues to 16.
The investment is part of the group’s ongoing project to help revive the faltering pub scene, aiming ‘to do for beer what our culture has done for food and wine’ in recent years by ‘taking provenance, cellaring and serving seriously’.
‘This is a once-in-a generation opportunity to acquire a key site in Camden Town and five other beautiful pubs in prime central London locations. The deal allows us to take further steps in our mission to bring good food, great beer and real people to pubs across London and the UK,’ said Charlie McVeigh, owner and founder of Draft House.
It is the first acquisition for the group, founded in 2009. Current staff will keep their jobs and up to 50 new jobs will be created as the sites are developed into Draft Houses, with all the sites closing for refurbishment to re-open by November.
As part of Draft House’s approach, staff in the new sites will determine their own beer selection, ensuring locations all have an offering relevant to their local areas.
The group is also keen to highlight the ‘exclusive’ elements of its new acquisitions. The expansive roof terrace of the new Kennington site, for example, is the only one of its kind out of all Draft House venues.
The deal also saw Grand Union sell three of its original nine locations back to Young’s, from whom it had been leasing the venues.
‘Draft House is a terrific business with a strong formula,’ said Luke Johnson, chairman and investor in Draft House.
‘I am confident Charlie and his team will make these six pubs very successful, offering an extraordinary range of craft beers and refreshing lunches and suppers, helping to slake the country’s thirst and satisfy its hunger.’