The Business On... Stephen Goodyear, Chief executive, Young & Co

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The Independent Online

What's Mr Goodyear up to?

The boss of Young's yesterday said he was selling the company's 40 per cent stake in the Wells and Young's Brewing Company to Charles Wells, its joint venture partner, for £151m. After 180 years in brewing, Young's is now a standalone pub company.

So this life-long brewer is a brewer no longer?

That's right. Mr Goodyear started his career as an 18-year-old at Courage. On his first day at the brewery in Putney he was "completely drunk" by lunchtime on Bulldog bitter and pale ale. He was sent home on the bus. So while he's not been in brewing for as long as Young's itself, he is still something of an industry lifer.

Was this decision a bit of a wrench then?

Mr Goodyear is a businessman first and foremost. He's said before that he cares about tradition but it won't stop him making hard strategic decisions for shareholders. This appears to be one of them. "This transaction is mutually beneficial" to both companies, he declared yesterday.

It's not the first such strategic move though, is it?

No. Mr Goodyear was appointed to the top job at Young's in 2003,having joined the company from Courage in 1995. One of his first big decisions was to sell off the 400-year-old Ram Brewery site in south-west London for £69m. There was a bit of a fuss about it at the time, but Mr Goodyear was unfazed.

Are the real ale crew cross?

Rest assured. Mr Goodyear says: "We are pleased to retain good supply agreements and our customers will therefore continue to enjoy their customary array of quality cask ales and lagers throughout our estate." You'll still be able to drink Young's beer in Young's pubs, although a three-year supply agreement between the two companies is now a two-year deal.

What's next?

Real ale lovers may be bitter, but it's food that provides the froth of financial success for pub companies these days. Mr Goodyear will use the money to pay for an expansion of the Young's estate and to serve up a treat for diners rather than drinkers.