The Orange Tree Derby has been taken over by two friends who have more than 40 years of experience in the hospitality sector.
Nelsons assisted with securing a 10-year lease of the Orange Tree premises, in George Street, off Friar Gate.
Keiran Lythe, who became the pub’s general manager a year ago, has taken on the role of director, alongside former assistant manager Mike Simpson. The duo have worked together at various bars across the East Midlands for more than 15 years.
It comes after the Leicestershire-based Orange Tree Group, founded by Ben Hings and Gareth Smith in 1997, announced it would be selling its seven sites across the East Midlands.
The Orange Tree Derby – which opened in the Cathedral Quarter building once known as Bar 5 in September 2016 – was the group’s seventh and final branch and focused on premium cocktails and spirits.
“This was a rewarding transaction to work on – we host networking events at the Orange Tree so we know how well thought of it is by the Derby community.
“Keiran approached me on a Monday morning and the change of ownership was completed by the Friday. Normally, this type of deal takes weeks but everyone worked together to secure the future of the Orange Tree. Not only is the venue in a fantastic location and housed in a stunning post-Victorian building dating back to 1911, it has also carved out a niche so I have no doubt it will continue to be a success under its new owners.”
Keiran, who moved to Derby 10 years ago, added:
“Owning our own pub is always something Mike and I joked about, but we never got around to doing anything about it. The Orange Tree Derby just fell into our laps – there was no way we could turn down the opportunity.
“It’s such a successful and much-loved pub in the city so we won’t be making any changes. Pubs are closing at such a fast rate at the moment, but I think the Orange Tree has weathered the storm because it places a real emphasis on the customer experience – it’s a relaxing place that provides premium products at an affordable price.
“Mike and I have been in this trade for a long time and we’ve finally found a pub that we absolutely love – the ethos and atmosphere is second to none. I don’t think either of us could ever work anywhere else and I suppose that’s a good job now!”
The Orange Tree group’s other venues – the Orange Tree in High Street, Leicester; Ward’s End, Loughborough; and Shakespeare Street, Nottingham, along with the neighbouring Kelso in Loughborough – have been sold to UK brewery giant Charles Wells, while independent operator Koban Group has acquired Fenways in Loughborough and Lansdowne in Leicester.