De Vere (hotel operator)

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De Vere
HeadquartersLondon, UK
Key people
Tony Troy (Group CEO)

De Vere is a hotels and leisure business which until the late 1990s was a brewing company known as Greenall's. It used to be listed on the London Stock Exchange and was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.


Greenall's Brewery was founded by Thomas Greenall in 1762. Initially based in St Helens, the company relocated to Warrington in 1787.[1]

It bought the Groves & Whitnall Brewery in Salford in 1961,[2] Shipstone's Brewery in Nottingham in 1978[3] and Davenport's Brewery in Birmingham in 1986.[4] For much of the 20th century, the company traded as Greenall Whitley & Co Limited.[4] The St Helens brewery was demolished in the 1970s to make way for a new shopping centre. The Warrington brewery on the edge of Stockton Heath was bought by Bruntwood, renamed Wilderspool Business Park and is now let to office occupiers.[5]

The company ceased brewing in 1991 to concentrate on running pubs and hotels.[6]

In 1999, the tenanted wing of the Greenall's operation was sold to the Japanese bank, Nomura for £370 million[7] and the main Greenall's operation, involving 770 pubs and 69 budget lodges, was sold to Scottish and Newcastle for £1.1billion.[8] Greenalls started to focus its resources on its De Vere and Village Leisure hotel branding at that time.[8]

In February 2005, Greenalls sold The Belfry to The Quinn Group for £186 million.[9]

The Greenall family connection remained as Lord Daresbury, the descendant of the original founder, remained the non-executive chairman. This tie was severed in 2006 when Daresbury stepped down from the post and much of the family's interest was sold.[10]

In 2006, the business, by then known as De Vere Group, was acquired by The Alternative Hotels Group plc, a joint venture between HBOS and eight investors led by Richard Balfour-Lynn,[11] for £745.5 million.[12] The Alternative Hotels Group plc renamed itself De Vere Group in 2010.[13]

De Vere Group sold Greenall's London Dry Gin for £7 million in a private equity-backed management buyout in 2011.[14] Balfour-Lynn also stood down as chief executive in 2011.[15]

In March 2014, private equity firm Starwood Capital acquired the business, by then known as De Vere Venues, and integrated it into Principal Hayley Group which it already owned.[16]

In November 2014, Village Urban Resorts were sold to Denver-based private equity firm KSL Capital Partners for £485m.[17]

In November 2016, Principal Hayley Group went through a major rebranding and re-investment project; the group became known as the Principal Hotel Company and split their portfolio between two groups of hotels: De Vere (a group of modern country estate hotels) and Principal (a group of luxury city hotels).[18]


Greenall's ales are distributed by Carlsberg and brewed for them by Molson Coors in Burtonwood, near Warrington.[19] Greenall's ales can still be bought in some pubs in the North West of England, although they are gradually disappearing. Often, only Greenall's Mild can be found. Greenall's Bitter is 3.6% ABV.[20] Greenall's Mild is 3.1%.[20]


  1. ^ "A Century of Cheshire Brewers". Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  2. ^ Groves & Whitnall Brewery
  3. ^ Nottinghamshire Breweries Archived 2009-01-31 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b "1963 Greenall Whitley And Co. Ltd". Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Wilderspool Business Park". Retrieved 20 November 2014.
  6. ^ "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 14 Nov 1991". Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  7. ^ Nomura set for 375m pound pub spree The Scotsman, 7 November 1998
  8. ^ a b Greenalls pubs go Scottish BBC News, 14 September 1999
  9. ^ Quinn buys Belfrey Golf Course Guardian, 11 February 2005
  10. ^ Daresbury steps down at De Vere to break 244 years of family ties The Times, 18 January 2006
  11. ^ Lloyds-backed Alternative Hotels Group may be sold Daily Mail, 12 February 2011
  12. ^ Group completes De Vere buy-up Liverpool Daily Post, 6 September 2006
  13. ^ The Alternative Hotel Group renamed as the De Vere Group Caterer Search, 17 December 2010
  14. ^ De Vere sells historic gin distiller Insider Media, 8 August 2011 Archived 18 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ Balfour-Lynn steps down from De Vere Group Caterer Search, 19 September 2011
  16. ^ "Starwood Capital buys De Vere Venues". Big hospitality. 11 March 2016. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  17. ^ "KSL Capital to acquire De Vere's Village Urban Resorts". Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  18. ^ "How Starwood's new Principal brand will shake up city centres nationwide". 2016-11-01.
  19. ^ "Thomas Hardy Burtonwood (Molson Coors)". Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  20. ^ a b Draught Portfolio