Drinks all round as niche pub chain is sold off

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NICHE ale and wine bar chain Market Town Taverns has been sold to an Isle of Man hospitality operator.

But there will be “no fundamental change” as managing director Ian Fozard is remaining in his post for at least a year.

The Knaresborough-based company, founded in 1999, operates in North and West Yorkshire and has been bought by Heron and Brearley.

Thirteen of Market Town Taverns’s 15 establishments featured in the 2012 CAMRA Good Beer Guide and all hold Cask Marque accreditation.

Heron and Brearley operates 48 houses, 43 in the Isle of Man, and has an in-house brewery, Okells.

Mr Fozard told the YEP: “We have expanded quite dramatically in the last two years and the time seemed quite right to sell.

“Our business is pretty different to most of the pubs.

“The businesses that are struggling are the ones that are owned by the big chains.

“When the downturn came we did not cut back on staff or service.”

He added: “We are pleased that the values and unique customer proposition which have contributed to our success during the past 12 years have been recognised by Heron and Brearley, an operator that shares our own view that quality of service and product are paramount in today’s difficult trading environment.

“I am confident our joint expertise and the support of our dedicated staff will help realise our respective business aspirations and lead to continued success and growth.”

Steven Taylor, Heron and Brealey’s retail director, said: “Acquiring Market Town Taverns is very much a coup for Heron and Brearley.

“An acquisition package of this calibre is extremely rare, given the level of consolidation industrywide in the current economic climate.”

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