Partnership announcement

30 April 2021

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In a culmination of a relationship that spans a decade, today James Clay and Sons and New Wave announce a formal partnership to provide a distribution platform for breweries who share their commitment to quality to thrive from.

The partnership sees New Wave become a wholly owned subsidiary of James Clay and Sons, with Chris Mair, founder of New Wave, taking on a senior role at the heart of strategy for the group, while continuing his existing role in New Wave. All jobs will be protected, and New Wave will continue to be based out of Edinburgh and trade under the New Wave name.

James Clay, Managing Director: “for a long time my friendship with Chris has provided a space to bounce around ideas in support of our respective businesses in a rapidly evolving specialist beer market. Joining forces puts us not only on the same page but on the same paragraph united by the drive to share the best beer, British and imported, with those who share our passion.”

Chris Mair “When Bruce Gray and I started Craft Centric, which became New Wave, James Clay and Shelton Bros (USA) were the aspiration, for us they were the zenith of the distribution game. Over the past nine years we’ve become very good friends with many of the businesses we work with, and in particular with the James Clay and Sons team. To now join forces and combine James Clay and Sons importing heritage with New Wave’s ‘newer’ British brewers is incredibly exciting.”

Since 2016 we’ve worked with New Wave as one of the partners distributing our range in Scotland, and it’s been a huge pleasure to watch the Scottish craft beer scene continue to expand their love for the classics in our range. New Wave have a wealth of experience in dealing in specialist beer, being grown from the ground up by Chris, developing an extremely deep portfolio that made them one of the top distributors of British craft beer. We’re delighted to be welcoming their entire team to join our own, and we look forward to benefiting from their experience, and the input from a fresh set of eyes on the way we work.

As part of the combined benefits, James Clay and Sons and Rarter Bond, their sister company and specialist bonded warehouse, are developing an Export Program for British brewers, which is to be led by Chris Mair. James Clay comments “we recognise the difficulties many British Brewers face exporting post Brexit. We hope to use our international trading experience to help unlock some of these challenges through a consolidated export program designed specifically for British brewers”. Chris Mair comments “James and I have been passing the ball back and forth on this for some time, so to be able to finally get to work on the projects we’ve hypothesised on is a very exciting time for all of us.”

The immediate benefits for New Wave customers include a wider range of import and draught beers from a portfolio that boasts the largest range of specialist beers in the UK (currently stocking 1088 beers from 229 breweries). However, the focus of the New Wave business will not change with a continuous pull through of the very best of UK beer and, of course, continuing their relentless pursuit of new and emerging talent from within the UK beer scene. The benefits for James Clay and Sons customers are expected to be an increased availability of modern British beers for James Clay and Sons. We also expect to benefit from Chris’ unique approach to relationship management with domestic and international partners to further broaden the scope of our range.