Sydney’s Lord Nelson Hotel and brewery tipped to sell for more than $35m

Big breweries and the major pub groups are expected to be keen on Sydney’s oldest continually licensed hotel, which has just hit the market with a $35m+ price guide.

The iconic Lord Nelson Brewery Hotel, at 19 Kent St, The Rocks, is up for expressions of interest sale via JLL’s Kate MacDonald and John Musca.

And apart from the prominent sandstone site, built in the 1830s, the purchaser gets the Lord Nelson Brewery beer brand, ‘Three Sheets’ Pale Ale, which is sold in 125 Sydney pubs.

Says MacDonald: “It’s a very rare opportunity to purchase a freehold Sydney hotel with a popular namesake beer brand.”


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The old pub is at 19 Kent St, The Rocks.

The pub has been owned by the New Zealand-born ex commodities trader Blair Hayden, along with former Yalumba winery boss Robert-Hill Smith and Sydney accountant Michael Gilbert, for 35 years.

Hayden says: “We simply don’t have the energy or the resources to take the business to the next level, but we have no doubt that someone will.”

They say they’ve fielded numerous unsolicited approaches over the years. The pub had cost them $750,500 in 1986.

The pub is located halfway between Circular Quay and Barangaroo, which is expected to attract 20 million visits a year.

The agents also point out the pub will benefit when Australia’s cruise industry resumes.

The owners restored the pub after their 1986 purchase.

There are multiple dining areas.

The hotel features a basement cellar with a fully functional brewery, ground floor public bar with brewery viewing area and original floors and fittings.

It also offers outdoor footpath seating, a first-floor fine-dining restaurant and commercial kitchen and two floors of accommodation nine rooms) with manager’s offices.

The award-winning Three Sheets makes up 90 per cent of Lord Nelson’s craft beer sales.

It’s been breweed since 1986 and is one of the Australian craft beer industry’s original pale ales.

The pub cost the owners $750,500 in 1986.

The famous Three Sheets beer label.

According to an Ibis World report published in October, the Australian Craft Beer trade generates close to $1 billion annually, tipped to rise to $1.3 billion over the next five years.

The sandstone building was restored and basement brewery built soon after the 1986 purchase.

Musca said: “The recent sale of the Stone & Wood Brewing interests to Lion Nathan for $550 million following the acquisition of Balter Brewery by Carlton United Breweries for a mooted $200 million has highlighted the growing global interest in craft brewing.”