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Published on February 5th, 2014 | by Alastair Gilmour

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Steam power drives progress

The North East pub deal of the decade has been sealed with the purchase of The Head of Steam group taking the Camerons estate to over 75 sites

The seven Head of Steam outlets – three in Newcastle which include the iconic Cluny with its Cluny2 appendage, Tilleys and the Head of Steam, with Heads of Steam in Durham and Huddersfield and The Central in Gateshead – are part of a plan to develop Camerons’ retail pub business across the North of England.

Camerons director and general manager, Christopher Soley says: “As a board, one of our key strategic investment areas is the development of a quality, sustainable estate in both our managed and tenanted pub divisions. These new sites fit the criteria we targeted, offering traditional cask ales, craft beers and world lagers.

“There are no imminent plans to change the great offer radically at these sites and will be looking to adopt many of their principles into our current estate.”

The purchase of the sites has been supported by brewing partner Carlsberg UK as the two companies look to increase business together. Former Head of Steam group co-owner Tony Brookes will work with the Camerons board on a consultancy basis to ensure the sites continue to deliver their unique offer.

Tony Brookes says: “My wife Carolyn and I couldn’t be more pleased to sell our pubs to Camerons. They were the very first account we set up in 1980 when we had our Legendary Yorkshire Heroes off-license at 198 Heaton Road in Newcastle. We’ve worked with them ever since and continued a very strong relationship – developing the Tap & Spile chain with them as well.

“If I’d had the choice of selling to anybody and this is not bullshit – it would have been Camerons we sold the business to.”

Camerons chairman David Soley commented that the company had not bought out The Head of Steam group, “but bought into it”.

“We’ve been genuinely taken aback by the quality of the management and management teams we have taken on. They’re a credit to Tony and Carolyn Brookes and The Head of Steam.”


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Alastair Gilmour



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