Jobs warning as Welsh brewer Brains to sell 40 pubs

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Brains breweryImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Brains started brewing beer almost 140 years ago

A Welsh brewer has told employees at some of its pubs they face job losses as Brains has announced it will sell 40 pubs due to "uncertain economic times".

It is not clear how many jobs will go and which pubs will be sold, but the Cardiff-based firm said it had "briefed all of the teams in the selected pubs".

Brains said it wanted to make itself "future-proof" ahead of Brexit and the increase in the national living wage.

Brains said it had a three-year plan to reorganise the 138-year-old firm.

"Regrettably we will require fewer people to provide services to our pub estate once the sales are completed," it said in a statement.

"We will carry out these changes over the coming months to ensure that we have sufficient time to make proper provisions for any colleagues affected and to minimise the impact of these changes."

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales, Brains's chief executive Alistair Darby said: "The business has existed for 130 years and in that time it's weathered all sorts of storms.

"We want the business to be around for another 130 years and clearly the face of pubs and how people spend their time has changed enormously and what we want to do is make sure the business is really set up for the future."

He added Brains wanted to "focus its efforts and firepower around a core set of pubs", citing rising costs and uncertainty over Brexit as factors in the closures.

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Image caption,
Brains is in the process of relocating to Cardiff Bay where Prince William opened the new brewery in 2019

Brains has more than 200 pubs and has told affected staff it will "manage this difficult process with respect and care" as it wants to "significantly grow" its profitability.

The statement added: "We still face uncertain economic times as our withdrawal from the EU is negotiated and costs, especially the national living wage, are set to increase well ahead of inflation."

SA Brain & Co last year sold its majority stake in its Coffee#1 business to Caffe Nero with the family-owned Welsh brewer keeping a 30% stake.

Now Brains is selling off pubs it described as "not core to our business" and has appointed a property advisory firm to market the bars it wants to sell.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Former Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samatha visited the Brains brewery a few years ago