UK-founded craft brewery and pub chain BrewDog has acquired Draft House’s UK estate of 14 pubs across London and the South East.

Draft House’s locations will be integrated into the franchise with all the existing staff retaining their jobs. BrewDog’s managing director David McDowall will take over from Charlie McVeigh, the founder of Draft House, as managing director of the bar chain.

The craft brewer also plans to involve the bar chain’s staff in the development and production of beers at its brewery headquarters in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

The craft brewer wants to use the pub chain’s expertise in the beer industry to further elevate the status of beer in the UK.

McDowall wrote in a blog post: “The two most important things in our world are our beer and our people. We’re excited to extend that to our new family at Draft House, and would like to offer a massive welcome to every single one of them.”

The craft brewer has committed itself to investing in bar chain’s existing estate with the possibility of expanding and adding more locations in the future.

Draft House was founded in 2009 with its first bar in Battersea. It opened its first non-London bar in Milton Keynes in 2016.

McVeigh said: “Nine years have passed since the first Draft House launched, and it has been a truly remarkable journey of discovery. We have built and awesome business, and more importantly, a team right at the heart of the UK’s beer revolution.

“I am immensely proud of what we have achieved together and delighted to hand the business over to Brewdog for its next stage of growth. Draft House couldn’t be in better hands.”

The Draft House acquisition is part of BrewDog’s 2018 focus on expansion within the UK. Earlier in March, the craft brewer opened its first bar in Reading, which followed an announcement in February that it was opening a beer hotel, which will be named DogHouse, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

This expansion follows BrewDog recording a 116% growth in off-trade sales to a total of £62.2m in 2017 meaning the brewer had a 71% share of the UK off-trade craft beer market last year.