Cheers – we advise UK’s leading specialist beer supplier on MBO

Published by Scott Miles on 4 January 2024

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We have advised the management team and directors of Cave Direct Ltd on its successful management buyout.

Established in 1979, Cave Direct is the UK’s leading craft beer wholesaler, importing and distributing specialist beers from around the world.

The MBO sees Cave Direct Ltd founders Colin Gilhespy and Louise Smale sell the business to its management team whilst remaining in the business as a director and chairman of the Board.

Cave Direct’s new board consists of Neil Kitching as Managing Director, Laurence Smale as Sales and Marketing Director and Michael Rochester as Operations Director. The board also welcomed Anthony Hurst as Shareholder and Cave Direct stalwart.

Our team was led by Partner Scott Miles and Business Advisory Manager Jak Hill.

Scott said: “Cave Direct is a family owned and hugely successful businesses, recognised as the UK’s leader in importing, wholesaling and distribution of craft beers from around the world. The company’s knowledge of Belgium beers is second to none.

“We are thrilled to advise the management team and founding directors on this MBO, and particularly to retain a strong family connection. We wish them all the very best for the next stage of the company’s growth story.”

Colin Gilhespy said: “Putting in place a succession plan that ensured continuity for our staff,

customers and suppliers was crucial in implementing this new structure. After our very humble beginnings, I am thrilled that Cave Direct can now continue in the same vein and has a  very exciting future in the hands of our new shareholders and board members whilst retaining the family involvement.

“I would like to thank the team at Kreston Reeves for their advice and guidance throughout this MBO. Scott and Jak have been first class and instrumental in the long-term future of Cave Direct.”

Neil Kitching said: “I am delighted and honoured to have the opportunity to continue to work with such a high-quality management team. The deal has ensured a natural transition and represents an exciting opportunity for our team to focus on our vision for the future. We are very pleased that Colin and Louise have agreed to continue to add their vast knowledge and understanding of our industry to our company. We plan to stick to the core family values that our company and suppliers adhere to.

“As with any important business change, we will continue to work closely with our customers, partners and suppliers to ensure the transition process is seamless. We guarantee that our customers will always receive the same high standards of service that they, rightly, expect.”

Legal advice was provided by Outset and Brachers who advised the sellers and buyers.

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