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.

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

If applicable:

* supplied by company † annualised figure