‘Turnaround’ brewery chief set to hand over reins after three years
- Credit: Nick Butcher
The head of a Suffolk brewery is set to step down after presiding over a remarkable turnaround.
Steve Magnall, chief executive of St Peter’s Brewery near Bungay, spent three years building the business up, with a focus on profit over sales and some highly successful new products including an alcohol-free range of beers, branded St Peter’s Without. He is set to hand over the reins on September 28.
Established more than two decades ago, the business hit challenging times and was losing money when he joined. Following investments in on site silos and a new bottling plant, it is now on track to achieve £0.5m in profit by the end of 2020.
The Without alcohol-free range has proved a big hit, capitalising on a growing consumer trend away from alcoholic products. Its success has led to the opening of a new bottling line which is set to increase output at the plant fourfold. “I will be sad to leave St Peter’s - it’s been good to watch the business and team develop,” he said.
The business is enjoying growing success in retail, the on-trade and in export. With Brexit just months away, it has turned its attention to markets beyond Europe, and is celebrating a lucrative new deal with China. It will supply a Chinese importer with five of its award-winning beers in both 500ml and 330ml bottles, including its Ruby Red, Cream Stout, India Pale Ale, Old Style Porter and Golden Ale.
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“We don’t know what the next few years hold when it comes to export, but what we do know, is that deals outside of Europe are going to enable us to continue to export in the large volumes that we do currently,” said export sales manager Ryan Crisp. “Our export sales account for over 40% of our overall business so we can’t afford to rest on our laurels and just wait and see what happens after Brexit. We’re being proactive and fostering new relationships with importers across the globe. China is quickly becoming one of the largest craft beer markets in the world so this new deal will be huge for us.”
Mr Magnall is moving on to another Suffolk business. He will join wife, Rebecca, as director of the family’s bakery business, The Two Magpies in Southwold.
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“With all things it is time for me to move on and help develop the family business. I wish the team at St. Peter’s all the best for the future,” he said.