A PUB operator has moved into the former headquarters of a brewery as it seeks to expand its estate and create more jobs.
Wear Inns has taken over the old offices of the Castle Eden brewery after a year in which it has bucked the trend of pubs closing.
It has become the biggest independent operator in the region in terms of volume of beer sold.
The company now owns 26 pubs – 17 in the North-East and nine in Yorkshire – with plans to expand to 40 by the end of 2013.
Managing director, John Weir, believes the move to Castle Eden near Peterlee is a statement of its commitment to the North-East.
He said: “It just feels right to be making the move now.
“I am born and bred in Sunderland and very proud to be developing the business in the region. We needed to put down some roots.
Given the history of Castle Eden and the sites we own in the North-East and Yorkshire, it is the perfect location.”
Since John and the company’s chairman John Sands formed Wear Inns in 2006, the workforce has grown from 105 to 265.
“We are very proud to have been able to develop the business in such a challenging market,” said Mr Weir.
“We believe our pubs should be at the heart of the community but also supporting and promoting local businesses.
“It is about sustaining and creating local jobs but also doing everything we can to support the local economy.”
The company filleruns 17 pubs in the North-East including The Smiths Arms, in Billingham.