The pub sales market in regional areas across Australia remains strong with Johnston Bros Hospitality Group buying its third hotel in central west NSW is less than a year and The Gracemere Tavern in Rockhampton also being sold.

The Johnston family has been farming in central west NSW for almost 10 years, and made its first hotel acquisition in October last year buying the historic Tarana Hotel.This was followed with the purchase of The O’Connell Hotel in March this year and now the group has added The Rydal Pub (Hotel Alexander) located 15 minutes from Lithgow to its portfolio.

Byram Johnston said he “had been encouraged by local sentiment around the Rydal Pub and after speaking with many of the locals it became increasingly clear that purchasing the Hotel was a unique opportunity to scale the groups resources and breathe new life into the Rydal pub.”

Nathan Johnston, the group’s operations and communications manager said: “There is an opportunity with the Alexander to open the Café (connected to the pub) six or even seven days a week as well as increasing the opening hours of the pub beyond what they currently are. The locals want to see their pub open more regularly again and offer up the staple counter meals you’ve come to expect at a country pub.”

Byram added: “Our philosophy is to buy local and hire local. We stock local wines, beers, spirits and produce as well as hiring local staff.

“Hiring local staff is an important element of our business and moving forward we intend to offer both employment and training opportunities to the local community across all our venues.”

Meanwhile in Rockhampton HTL Property has brokered the sale of The Gracemere Tavern for the Cook Beaumont and Partners Hotel syndicate based in Melbourne. Although the identity of the buyer has not been revealed, HTL Property’s Managing Director, Andrew Jolliffe, said the purchaser is “a multi-state operator”.

“Our successful purchaser is both a multistate operator and emblematic of the new wave of investors seeking cross-border operational exposure with meaningful bets being placed in order to achieve this outcome; and with similar announcements to follow very shortly, we hold a positive rating on the sector outlook,” Jolliffe said.

The Gracemere Tavern sale was conducted by HTL’s Queensland Directors, Glenn Price and Brent McCarthy, and McCarthy said: “HTL Property continues to leverage our relationships with interstate publicans, who recognise compelling value in the Queensland market; and who are prepared to look wider than just the Southeast region.”

Price added: “Despite inflationary headwinds, there still exists an unsatisfied depth of equity looking to be invested into the sector, and which has again shown that it is one of the most resilient sectors within wider commercial property markets.

“Assets with strong revenue generation models and underwritten property fundamentals remain in high demand; with a particular interest in assets that exceed $1.5M in annual net profit being preferred, and being sought by corporate operators, private equity groups, and family offices all looking at deploying significant capital sums.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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