C&C Group has signed a new long-term partnership agreement with Innis & Gunn, one of the UK’s leading craft beer businesses.

The agreement will see C&C Group sell and distribute the Innis & Gunn range of beers across the on-trade in the UK and Ireland.

Under the new partnership, as Innis & Gunn starts to significantly increase brand presence and investment in England, C&C will use its position as the largest independent beverage-alcohol distributor in the UK and Ireland to increase the distribution and availability of Innis & Gunn beers in the on-trade, wholesale and free-trade channels, through its distribution businesses Matthew Clark in the UK and through Bulmers Ireland and Tennent’s NI in Ireland.

Innis & Gunn will continue to be responsible for all brand marketing and for sales and distribution to national pub chains, the off-trade and current international markets.

Innis & Gunn’s beers will continue to be produced and packaged at C&C’s Wellpark Brewery in Glasgow as part of a renewed agreement, as well as at Innis & Gunn’s Brewery in Perth.

This partnership will be formalised through investment in Innis & Gunn which will give C&C an equity stake of 8%. A long-term incentive scheme is also in place which will make a number of additional shares available to C&C based on performance targets being met.

The agreement builds on the long-term manufacturing relationship between the two companies which began back in 2010. Since then, Innis & Gunn has grown to become the number one craft beer in Scotland, a top three craft brand in the UK, as well as a leading craft brand in Sweden and Canada.

In 2020 Innis & Gunn was recognised in a YouGov poll of drinkers right across the country as the UK’s most recommended beer brand, and was recently awarded ‘Best Lager’ in the 2020 Scottish Beer Awards.

Dougal Gunn Sharp, Founder of Innis & Gunn, said: “At a time when we are seeing consumer demand for our beers increasing, in fact becoming the sixth largest Scottish drinks brand in our home market in 2020, this is a key next step in our growth strategy. C&C’s strength in the on-trade across the whole of the UK and Ireland, and our long-term relationship, means we have solid foundations from which to build. C&C is the right partner with the right platform to help us accelerate our growth into these channels and seek to replicate the success the brand has enjoyed in Scotland. The partnership will also create immediate synergies enabling us to re-direct additional capital behind marketing and new product development.

“We are retaining our independence and gaining a new distribution partner which can help us to introduce our brand to a much wider audience.

“The new manufacturing agreement leaves all options on the table to allow us to build our Edinburgh Brewery when the time is right and when there is less uncertainty in the market caused by the current COVID-19 pandemic.”

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