ALE Summer 2002 No. 307

Brewery News

Roger Protz, the beer writer and editor of the Good Beer Guide, gave a talk at the recent CAMRA regional meeting. Some of his key points were:

News round-up

New breweries: the Fox Brewery at the Fox & Hounds, Heacham (s. of Hunstanton) and the Spectrum Brewery, Bradenham, also in Norfolk. Fox's beers were at Peterborough Beer Festival and Spectrum's have been at the Kingston Arms in Cambridge.

The Dark Horse Brewery in Hertford has closed after 8 years.

City of Cambridge Brewery has started brewing in its new premises - see Steve Draper's article.

Milton Brewery have opened their first pub, the Coalheavers Arms in Peterborough (near Charters; Multimap). There are eight hand pumps, a real cider and Bitburger German beer. The second pub, in Hackney, is being refurbished for opening early next year. The Chancellor's cut in duty for small brewers was an important factor in making this investment possible.

Cask Marque has launched its Distribution Charter, as described in last October's talk, to improve the handling of beer between brewery and pub.

The IFBB, the federation of family-owned brewers, are holding another Real Beer Week to promote real ale. It runs from 30th September.

Tolly Cobbold has been bought by Ridley's Brewery (Chelmsford), who will take over the brands but most importantly the large distribution network. This ends 250 years of brewing at the Cliff Quay site in Ipswich.

Coors, the new owners of the Bass brewery (but not the Bass brand), are showing commitment to real ale by launching a new premium ale Worthington 1744 (4.4%).

Greene King

These days the news just keeps coming! The profits are rolling in; it's planning to spend 50M on refurbishing its pubs and apparently it's the first UK brewer to get the quality standard ISO 9001:2000 across the whole of its business.

The company has managed to create some fuss with its "steamy" ad campaign for IPA and Abbot, featuring a woman tied to a bed having her toes licked and the slogan: "some things get better given longer".

GK bought Morrells of Oxford for 67M recently, gaining 57 managed and 50 tenanted pubs and the brands, such as Oxford Blue, Graduate and Varsity. So these are likely to reappear soon as "traditional Oxford beers", following the recent misleading labelling of Morland and Ruddles.

GK now has about 1,900 pubs - 650 managed and 1,250 tenanted - and is selling 25 of the ones acquired from Old English Inns last year.

Brakspear Brewery, Henley

Brakspear's is following Mitchell's and Morrell's path to oblivion. After an internal wrangle, it's selling its brewery site, ending 200 years of operations. It claims to want to establish a new brewery site somewhere yet to be determined.

Meanwhile the brands are going to Refresh (UK), the new owners of the Wychwood Brewery, leaving Brakspear to concentrate on its tenanted pubs, until a predator such as Enterprise Inns or GK comes along.

The chairman, Mike Foster, cited the pressure within the free trade for deep discounts. The Budget's progressive duty tax break was set at too low a cut-off to help.


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