Independent specialist beer importer James Clay has acquired the wholesale arm of beer specialists Utobeer, creating a new, concentrated craft beer distribution business.
Utobeer will continue to operate its award-winning retail division, which includes pubs The Rake, The Cage at Borough Market, and Tap East in London's Stratford.
James Clay said the acquisition – which will now trade as 'Utobeer Distribution' – will provide it with a more developed route to market for the London area. The James Clay London account management team is now set to double as it absorbs existing Utobeer Distribution employees.
Importer and distributor James Clay is known for its range of specialist and craft beers from around the world. The current range includes Brooklyn Brewery, Flying Dog Brewery, Erdinger Weißbräu and Anchor Brewing Co.
Ian Clay, managing director, said: 'We are picking up the baton from Utobeer co-founders Mike Hill and Richard Dinwoodie and have a great respect for what they have accomplished for beer distribution in our nation's capital.
'We are excited about further developing relationships within the London beer community and sharing the experiences that excite us with even more beer drinkers. We respect the excellent work being provided by our existing partners and remain committed to working alongside them to develop quality beer in London.'
Independent beer specialist Utobeer was founded in 1999. In a joint statement, co-founders Hill and Dinwoodie, said: 'We are confident that James Clay is the best company to develop Utobeer Distribution and ensure that an even greater range of beers from world renowned craft breweries are accessible throughout London.
'We’re very proud of the progress we've made within the industry since establishing the company over 17 years ago, and we look forward to seeing it grow even further with James Clay.'
The deal is expected to complete on May 9.