The Beer Seller

When former City banker Paul Horsley decided he wanted a change of scene he focused his attentions on the Dawes Group, a manufacturer of soft drinks for pubs and clubs. He bought the company, which trades as The Beer Seller, for £125,000 in 1987 when its turnover was just £850,000. Since then, Horsley has driven up profits of the Somerset-based company 29% a year, from £1.9m in 1997 to £4.2m in 2000, when sales shot up to £139m. Horsley, who had prior experience of the industry after being involved in a number of drinks company takeovers while working in the City, attributes his success to a “clear vision of how the industry would change”. He eliminated the manufacturing side of the business and concentrated instead on the distribution of alcoholic and soft drinks. Backed by venture capitalists 3i, he also pursued an aggressive policy of acquisition, buying wine seller Saccone & Speed and Eldridge Pope Fine Wines. In April 2000, he sold The Beer Seller to drinks giant Bulmer for £32m.

This profile reflects the company at time of publication and does not reflect any changes that may have subsequently occurred. Fast Track and its sponsors do not endorse, guarantee or recommend investment in any of the companies.

Company details
Year2001
Rank80
CompanyThe Beer Seller
ActivityDrinks distributor
LocationSomerset
Annual profit growth29.02%
Latest profits £000s†4,173
Latest sales £000s†138,992
Staff652
Founded1888

If applicable:

* supplied by company † annualised figure