Published: 09:00, 27 November 2017
| Updated: 09:35, 27 November 2017
Winemaker Hush Heath Estates is increasing its activity in the pub market after signing a deal with the largest bar company in the UK.
The winery, which has vineyards near Staplehurst, is launching Hush Heath Inns in a joint venture with Ei Managed Investments, part of Ei Group, which owns more than 4,500 properties, predominantly run as leased and tenanted boozers.
Its first site will be the Ship Inn in Rye, East Sussex, adding to four pubs it already owns, three of which with boutique hotels.
The Pubs with Rooms business, as it’s being dubbed, aims to push the company into the growing hospitality market.
Yet it comes as a report by auditor PWC forecasts a slower pace of growth for the UK hotel industry in 2018 as the stimulus of the weak pound starts to weaken, and new supply kicks in.
Hush Heath Estates owner Richard Balfour-Lynn, who first planted vines in Kent in 2002, has appointed a new commercial director to support the venture.
Ed Gardner has joined having previously been managing director of Corney & Barrow Bars.
Mr Gardner said: “We are absolutely delighted to be working with Ei Managed Investments and taking on the Ship Inn, Rye.
“Ei Managed Investments, together with our leading premium English wine and cider estate is launching a broader Pubs with Rooms business, which is a first in UK hospitality.
“We look forward to welcoming our guests who will be able to enjoy the finest local food and drink in a beautiful Sussex pub.”
Nathan Wall, operations director for Ei Managed Investments, added: “Hush Heath Inns is an exciting venture for us in being a Pubs with Rooms business and another venture outside of London.
“Hush Heath Estate is a unique hospitality proposition with its focus around the winery and we look forward to working with the team.”
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