A few words about the Dark Star and Fuller's deal

A few weeks ago, it was announced that Fuller's had taken a 100% stake in Dark Star, one of my favourite, small independent breweries. That was a big surprise and, initially, a bit of a disappointment. You see, I like to support the little guy and when they get bought out by the bigger guy, it's potentially a life-changing moment for a beer fan like me. Well, not exactly. There will always be small independent breweries that I can support!

Nevertheless, even though Dark Star have every right to continue to grow their business as they want, a deal like this may be worrying to some people. There have been other deals where a smaller brewery gets bought out and closes, the beer changes, and a well-loved name is no more. In fact, close to home in Horsham, the demise of King and Barnes is an example from a few years back. So, it's fair to say that people can react negatively to brewery deals.

With a deal like this, it's always best to see how the two companies work together before deciding if it's good or bad. The time to judge this deal is in a year or two when the impact is clear. There may be new and exciting beers that come out of this, Dark Star may free up capacity to experiment more, and beers like Hophead might become a UK brand that more people know. As long as that beer doesn't change its taste, I don't mind!

So, I'm pretty sanguine about the deal. Let's see how it shakes down and go from there. In the meantime, I'll still be able to visit the Anchor Tap. I can still support small independent breweries that spring up. And there's another free house pub in Horsham now.

The life of a beer fan doesn't change with a brewery deal. Let's support great beer and great pubs!

Update: The Dark Star pubs are outside the deal and will be run as an independent company by the same team as now.


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