Grand Met puts sip of brewing history up for sale: Fresh attempt to find buyer for 300-year-old Truman site in East End

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GRAND Metropolitan is making a fresh attempt to sell the 300- year-old Truman brewery site in the East End of London, which it closed in 1989 at the height of the property boom.

The company is trying to sell the brewery privately together with 18 other development and investment properties as one lot. It is also auctioning nine other properties separately and hopes to raise more than pounds 75m in total.

Most of the sites are former group operational properties and include shops in Oxford Street, London and offices and industrial units.

Grand Met inherited the brewery together with 986 pubs and 138 off-licences when it bought Truman Hanbury Buxton in 1971 for pounds 48m after an aggressive contest with Watney Mann, in which they tabled 14 different bids between them .

The brewery was founded in 1666 by Thomas Bucknall, who sold out to Joseph Truman in 1694. At the end of last century, Truman could lay claim to being the biggest brewery in the world.

Grand Met then fought an acrimonious bid battle in 1972 to buy Watney Mann, one of the UK's biggest brewers.

After nearly four months and three bids, it succeeded with a pounds 435m offer - which was a record for an industrial takeover and led to the formation of Watney Truman.

The Truman brewery closed in 1989, as part of Grand Met's move to concentrate on retailing, which involved a pubs-for-breweries swap with Courage, the brewer owned by Foster's of Australia.

The development properties being sold include two other brewery sites - the Phoenix House brewery in Brighton and the 3.5-acre site of the Mann's brewery in Norwich.

Grand Met said the Norwich site had scope for 60,000 square feet of offices and up to 80 residential units. Brighton has preliminary planning permission for 155,000 square feet of offices and other developments.