ALE November 1998 No. 292

Brewery Closures

In the last few months corporate accountants have been particularly busy: many well-known breweries have been under threat.

Castle Eden

Whitbread announced earlier in the year that the brewery was to close at the start of October, one of the first of a number of business closures announced in Tony Blair's constituency.

In late October a local consortium of businessmen, led by David Soley, bought the brewery along with the Castle Eden and Trophy Special brands. It will be known as the Castle Eden Brewery Co. Ltd.

Whitbread's latest Tour of Destruction also includes the Flowers brewery in Cheltenham, now closed.

Vaux & Wards

Vaux are planning to sell their Sunderland brewery plus the Wards one in Sheffield and up to 350 tenanted pubs, preferring to concentrate on their hotels and managed theme pubs. However there may be a buy-out by management and/or members of the Vaux family. Between them the breweries have been going 350 years. A century ago Sheffield had over 30 breweries and 1939 still had 10.

Morrells

Michael Cannon is leading the buyout of the brewery premises and its 132 pubs. (Last year he sold his Magic Pub Co. to Greene King.) So far Morrells of Oxford Ltd. seems to have no plans to keep on brewing but instead contract out production of certain Morrells brands, i.e. keeping them in name only. [Since publication, it's been reported that Hall & Woodhouse have won the contract.] The business was put up for sale on the advice of PricewaterhouseCoopers even though the business was profitable.

Ruddles

Having bought Ruddles from Grolsch, Morlands is about to close the brewery and pretend that the same beers can be brewed from Oxfordshire. Like other brewery fakes such as Boddingtons and Rayments, this never works - the beer is never the same yet the brewery relies on the old associations. They've already dropped the strength of Ruddles County from 4.9% to 4.7%. CAMRA has been fighting to keep Ruddles real.
[ Morland sold to Greene King ]

There's more news in Brewery news.


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