AN INDEPENDENT Sussex brewer has been sold to a national chain.

Dark Star brewery, which started at the Evening Star in Brighton before moving to its current premises in Partridge Green has today been taken over by Fullers - makers of London Pride.

Brewing will continue at Dark Star’s Partridge Green site, with managing director James Cuthbertson remaining at the helm.

He told The Argus the deal was "more of a partnership than a takeover" but did admit there would be some redundancies.

He said: "There is some overlap so there will be some redundancies.

"We are looking at how we can best work together.

"It's about getting it right for the beer.

"This investment means we will be able to brew more exciting small batch beers.

"We will continue brewing on Partridge Green and out pubs will remain open."

Fullers bought a 100% stake in the company - giving the Sussex brewer the funds to invest in new markets and increase sales of beers such as Hophead, APA, Dark Star Original and a range of seasonal brews.

Mr Cuthbertson added: “Since our inception in 1994, we have continuously grown from those early days in The Evening Star Pub in Brighton to the current brewery in Partridge Green.

"The partnership with Fuller’s, another independent brewery with fantastic heritage and great beer at its very core, will allow us to take the brewery to the next level. The deal means we will continue to do what we do, but gives us huge opportunities to brew more one-off small batch beers hand-in-hand with exploring the export market and expanded bottle and can formats.”

“We’ve always described Dark Star as more of a hobby that got out of control than a business, an ethos that will remain at the centre of what we do and what we’re about, after all, beer should be fun and accessible. I’m also delighted that Fuller’s has donated £4,000 to the Dark Star Foundation, bringing the total fund to £20,000 to support local causes and charities in 2018.”

In 2010 the brewery teamed up with The Argus to create the Argus Ale in support of the Argus Appeal.

Simon Dodd, managing director of The Fuller’s Beer Company, said: “Both Fuller’s and Dark Star are brewers with quality and taste at their heart. I just can’t wait to see how Dark Star innovates further with the support of Fuller’s and access to our expertise in brewing, retailing and business elements such as finance, purchasing and IT systems.”