Bungay: St Peter’s Brewery poised to go up for sale with price tag of up to £15m

Colin Cordy, managing director of St Peter's Brewery

Colin Cordy, managing director of St Peter's Brewery

Bosses at a Suffolk brewery say they are confident the business could grow 10-fold if the right buyer can be found to take it to the next level.

St Peter’s Brewery, at St Peter South Elmham, near Bungay, was first put up for sale by chairman and founder John Murphy in 2005.

No deal was secured at that time but, with Mr Murphy planning to retire next year when he reaches the age of 70, a sell-off is now back on the agenda, with reports suggesting a price tag of between £12million and £15m.

St Peter’s is an export success story selling a diverse range of bottled beers in about 35 different overseas markets and, with signs of an upturn in economic conditions, managers believe the time could now be right for a disposal.

While the “for sale” sign has yet to be officially put up at the business, which employs 35 staff at its base at historic St Peter’s Hall, the firm is actively considering the move to bring in new owners to take the business to the next level of growth.

Colin Cordy, managing director, said: “The facts are that John Murphy, our chairman is 70 next year. He doesn’t have any children or a dynasty to pass the business on to.

“He has always said he would like to retire all his business interests by the time he reached that milestone. We believe we have taken the business as far as we can.

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“The difference with most other UK breweries is that we are pretty much an international brand, rather than a brewer that just makes beer in its own area.”

Mr Cordy said he did not expect the business to receive much interest from major UK ale breweries such as Greene King, which, he said, were more interested in their pub businesses.

He said the potential sale reflected a growing belief that the economy may be coming out the other side with potential suitors, who have been stockpiling cash, willing to invest. “John’s belief is that we can probably grow 10-fold in the next three to five years,” Mr Cordy said.

“It will come to market at some point. We are looking for a premium on our business to reflect the major status of our brand – it’s really a question of finding the right person.

“I think it’s fairly unlikely that someone would come in and close the business down. John in particular would be disappointed if that happened.”