Wells & Young’s to unveil McEwan’s ale investment

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MCEWAN’S beer-owner Wells & Young’s will unveil an investment in its flagship brand on Wednesday, the first since it bought Scotland’s best-selling ale from Heineken in 2011.

The Bedford-based company – which also owns Bombardier, Courage and Waggle Dance – took over the world-wide rights to McEwan’s and Younger’s labels, which were once part of Scottish & Newcastle’s (S&N’s) empire before it was split up by the Dutch brewer and Danish peer Carlsberg in 2008.

McEwan’s Export – which is brewed in Edinburgh at Heineken’s Caledonian Brewery on Slateford Road – is Scotland’s best-selling ale, according to figures from market research firm Nielson, with its No1 Champion Ale taking seventh spot. Other beers in its range include 60, 70 and 80 shillings.

The 2011 deal also saw Wells & Young’s purchasing the remaining 17 per cent stake in Courage from Heineken, having bought its initial holding from Scottish & Newcastle in 2007.

Previous investments by Wells & Young’s have included a £4 million television advertising campaign for its Wells Bombardier brand, which starred actor and comedian Rik Mayall.

The company also pumped £2m into a marketing drive for its Courage Best Bitter product and sponsorship deals with the Exeter Chiefs and Plymouth Pirates rugby union clubs.

The firm – which was created in 2000 through the merger of Charles Wells and Young & Co – also imports Spanish lager Estrella Damm and markets German wheat beer Erdinger Weissbier and Japanese tipple Kirin Ichiban in the UK.