DORSET’S 242-year-old brewery Hall & Woodhouse has a new boss.

Matt Kearsey has been named managing director of the Blandford-based business – taking over from Anthony Woodhouse, who has become chairman.

He said: “I am both humbled and excited to be appointed to the role of managing director at Hall & Woodhouse. The business has an incredible history, with a dedicated and talented team who are passionate about protecting the company’s legacy and delivering our ambitious plans for the future. I’m looking forward to supporting the team on the next stage of our journey as we build to our 250th birthday in 2027.”

Anthony Woodhouse said: “Matt Kearsey joined us 10 years ago and quickly turned around our tenanted pub division, evolving it into the market-leading business partnerships estate we have today.

“He has subsequently further enhanced our managed house business which, consequently, has seen a rapid growth in sales and profits. But most importantly, he and his leadership team live and breathe our company values.

“With underlying group profits up 17 per cent despite last year’s challenging trading conditions, a brilliant team in place and a clear strategy for the future, I am confident that we will have plenty to celebrate at our 250th birthday in 2027.”

Mr Kearsey, who lives near Dorchester, worked for Marks & Spencer prior to moving into the brewery and pub industry at Scottish Newcastle and Greene King.

In 2017, Hall & Woodhouse sent him to the USA on the advanced management programme at Harvard Business School – a course to guide senior leaders in honing their leadership capabilities.

Mr Kearsey added: “The board of directors suggested that I attend Harvard Business School, which was an amazing, invaluable experience. It challenged me to think in a different way about how we grow and develop the company and get the very best out of our business relationships.

“The leadership team at Hall & Woodhouse see ourselves as custodians. Our job is to build on our history and legacy and pass on the business to future generations of team members, guests and shareholders. Being an independent family business means we are free to shape our strategy around long-term benefits rather than quick profit wins. As we’ve been around for 242 years and never been in better shape, this is clearly an approach which benefits the company, our team and the community.”

His appointment comes as long-serving directors David Hoare and Martin Scott retire, while Mark Woodhouse steps down as chairman to become family director.

Hall & Woodhouse was founded in 1777 by Charles Hall, who opened a brewery in the village of Ansty. More than 30 years on, his son Robert brought Edward Woodhouse into the business. Edward Woodhouse married Mr Hall’s granddaughter and the business’s name was born.