Halewood Wines & Spirits has made its first move into the beer world, by purchasing a stake in Lake District-based brewery, Hawkshead.
The deal will enable Hawkshead to build a new brewery and expand production. Distribution will be taken over by Halewood.
The brewery was founded in 2002 by former BBC foreign correspondent Alex Brodie. Beers include Windermere Pale and Lakeland Gold. It currently has a turnover of £2.5million and brews one million litres (6,000 barrels) of beer per year.
Hawkshead’s founder Alex Brodie said: 'Demand for our beers exceeds our ability to supply. We have gone about as far as we can on our own. This partnership with Halewood will allow us to grow and fulfil our potential.
'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.'
Halewood 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 is to continue as managing director, with the existing brewing team to also remain in place. The brewery will be operated as a stand-alone business. Halewood also owns small drinks producers, including mineral water producer, Willow Water, the Liverpool Gin distillery and North Wales whisky distillery, Aber Falls, which is due to open later this year.