AN award winning independent south Shropshire brewery has changed hands after nearly 40 years,

The Wood Brewery, started by the real-ale-loving Wood family in 1980 in Wistanstow, south Shropshire, has been acquired by Yarrawaddie Brands.

The brewery is one of the founders of the Small Independent Brewers’ Association.

Yarrawaddie Brands is owned by Stephen O’Neill, a drinks industry executive who was formerly Senior Vice-President of Strategy for Pernod Ricard USA and Patrick McGuckian, who has spent his career in the food distribution business.

They will be joint managing directors of the brewery.

Joining the company as Commercial Director is Tony Walsh, who previously worked for Bass and Imbiba, a leisure industry fund.

“Obviously I have mixed feelings about leaving the company, but I believe the new owners can take the business to a new level and are well placed to ensure substantial growth from a robust base,” said Edward Wood

Edward will continue in the business as a consultant for some months to ensure a smooth handover.

Wood’s award-winning draught and bottled beers, including Shropshire Lad and Shropshire Lass, are sold throughout Shropshire and adjoining counties, as well as further afield through drinks agencies.

The brewery is based where it started, in the former stables of the Plough Inn, the brewery tap, in Wistanstow village, on the edge of the Shropshire Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Wood’s have made significant developments and expansion on the site over the years.

The brewery has been one of a growing number throughout the country has has benefitted from the enthusiasm of drinkers for traditional local ales.

This has also been inspired by a taste by drinkers for what are known as real ales produced on a small scale in small and micro-breweries.