In the latest major acquisition for Australian Venue Co, it has today announced that it has purchased the significant majority of Sand Hill Road venues, one of the pre-eminent Melbourne-based hotel groups.

The acquisition will see eight of Sand Hill Road’s nine Melbourne venues incorporated into the Australian Venue Co. portfolio, including flagship establishments Hotel Esplanade ‘The Espy’ and Garden State Hotel, alongside Richmond Club, The Posty, Prahran Hotel, Holliava, The Bridge Hotel and Terminus Hotel. Sand Hill Road will retain the Waterside Hotel, which is currently closed for renovations and will re-open in late 2020.

The sale price for the portfolio has not been made public.

Sand Hill Road, have long been esteemed as one of the country’s most forward-thinking pub operators, and recently were awarded with Hotel of the Year at the 2019 ALIAs for Hotel Esplanade, among many others.

“We have long admired the work of Sand Hill Road and everything that they have achieved in re-imagining and restoring rundown pubs. It is a privilege to be entrusted with ownership of these beloved Melbourne establishments and to add such an innovative and driven approach to our group,” stated Australian Venue Co CEO, Paul Waterson.

“We have a long track record of working in partnership with venues steeped in tradition, adding value where we can, while maintaining the local look and feel that customers know and love. We understand that as custodians of these establishments, we have a duty to the local communities that they serve to provide an outstanding customer experience.

“Like us, the Sand Hill Road team have worked closely with local communities as they have operated and refurbished these iconic Melbourne establishments. We look forward to taking on responsibility for maintaining these core values and enhancing their legacy.”

Andy Mullins, co-founder of Sand Hill Road, said that after a decades-long building up of the business, selling the group to AVC made a lot of sense.

“The boys and I are super proud of what we’ve achieved in Melbourne’s pubs over the last 20 years. We’ve been on a similar journey to Paul and the AVC team – we both started out with just one pub in Melbourne, the backing of our mates and the belief in the importance of the local community pub.

“AVC have a strong track record of operating pubs across the country that maintain their integrity and character, whilst bringing added value through industry relationships, marketing expertise and a strong team to drive growth whilst staying true to core values.

He concluded: “We specifically want to thank each and every staff member who’s worked with us over the past twenty years. And finally, but most importantly, we want to thank each and every customer who’s shared a beer and a laugh across our bars.”

AVC’s current portfolio includes 150 venues across Australia, including 25 in Melbourne. It’s last multi-venue purchase was the acquisition of the Spirit Hotels portfolio in Queensland in conjunction with Coles Liquor, to create the Queensland Venue Company.

Vanessa Cavasinni

Vanessa Cavasinni is the managing editor of Australian Hotelier and Club Management, trade publications for the pub and club sectors respectively. Vanessa has been at the helm of Australian Hotelier since...

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