Pub giant Marston’s has signed a deal with a leading US craft brewer

UK pub giant Marstons has made a distribution deal with an American craft brewer as it looks to corner a growing market for independent beer.

Marstons, which owns chains such as Pitcher & Piano and Two For One, will be hoping that the five-year deal with Founders Brewing Company will help the firm recover from a spell of poor sales caused by bad weather earlier in the year.

Americas 16th largest brewery has already been a lucrative source of profit for Marstons in the last 12 months, with sales in Founders' All Day IPA increasing 274 per cent.

Marstons first gained distribution rights to Founders craft beer after acquiring real ale producer Charles Wells for £55m last year.

Read more: Heineken is raising UK investment to record levels

However, several months of snow and cold earlier this year, dubbed the "Beast from the East", caused Marstons an "unavoidable disruption to the business".

The pub heavyweight suffered a like-for-like sales drop of 0.9 per cent in March and eventually fell out of the FTSE 250 last month.

Read more: Restaurants took a big hit over the Easter holiday as sales slowed

Brian May, vice president of exports at Founders Brewing Company, said: "We hire for personality, passion and skill and Marstons hugely mirrors these values. Theyre a highly respected brewer and operator, and were excited about this next chapter in our relationship, which will see us bring our passion for brewing to a UK audience – its going to be great fun."

John Clements, head of commercial marketing at Marstons, said: "Were thrilled that the Founders philosophy and premium tasting portfolio is really starting to take effect here in the UK. Were working with numerous independent operators, craft beer bars and the likes of Youngs, Castle Pub Company and Morrisons to name just a few."

Original Article

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