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James Clay acquire Midlands based Beer Direct

James Clay, the UK’s leading craft and specialist beer distributor, is set to expand its reach in the Midlands following the acquisition of regional distributor Beer Direct. The deal will see James Clay assume all Beer Direct operations from the 4th of June, 2018 and will trade as James Clay going forwards.

The acquisition should prove to be a boon for brewers and beer consumers in the region as the integration of the two businesses will increase the availability of some of the world’s greatest beers through James Clay’s extensive portfolio. The Beer Direct range will remain in place initially, before being expanded to introduce James Clay’s wider offering. Prices to customers will be aligned to ensure they share the benefits of the deal. Martin Johnson, Beer Direct’s founder and Managing Director, will remain in a consultancy role to ensure a smooth transition.

James Clay, Business Development Director at James Clay commented:
‘We’ve worked closely with Beer Direct for over 25 years as an independent business who share our philosophies and values. Martin shares our ambition of connecting customers with the world’s greatest beers and we’re honoured he trusts us to ensure the business thrives for decades to come. We respect the excellent work of our other distribution partners in the area, and remain committed to working alongside them to develop quality beer in the region. We thank Martin for his tireless dedication to great beer, and wish him the very best in a richly deserved retirement.

Martin Johnson, Managing Director at Beer Direct, commented:
‘We’re confident that James Clay is the best company to take Beer Direct forward, and feel certain this transition will benefit pubs, bars, and bottle shops in the region. We want to thank all of our customers for their loyalty over the past 27 years, and reassure them that James Clay’s commitment to quality beer puts them in safe hands for the future.’

James Clay, founded in West Yorkshire, is a family owned business entering their fourth decade of trading. The company has built a reputation not only as a leading distributor, but also an internationally acclaimed importer and brand manager with UK responsibility for prominent breweries such as Stone Brewing, Erdinger Weißbrau, and Anchor Brewing Co.

Beer Direct was founded in 1991 by Martin Johnson and Brian Pettit and supplies a range of beers, ciders and jenevers to a variety of trade sites. They were part of a generation of importers who first popularised Belgian beer in the UK, paving the way for today’s diverse and thriving specialist beer scene. Based in Stoke-on-Trent, their heartland is the Midlands and they specialise in bringing the eclectic European beer culture to discerning drinkers across the UK.

The acquisition of Beer Direct marks James Clay’s second major expansion, the first being the acquisition of the wholesale arm of London beer specialists Utobeer. The move represents a continued commitment to provide the best possible platform for the world’s greatest beers.

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