Advances in recycling technology have prompted Scottish & Newcastle UK (S&NUK) to close its Dunston, Gateshead, bottling plant next month with the loss of 66 jobs.
Dunston packaged Newcastle Brown Ale in returnable glass bottles, but following the success of a trial where beer was supplied to pubs in non-returnable bottles - the same type used for its off-trade and export markets - it was decided to close the site.
The plant will shut down permanently on February 16.
Chris Jowsey, managing director of Newcastle Federation Breweries, which brews Newcastle Brown Ale, said: "No other national beer brand sold by S&NUK or its competitors is available in returnable bottle and after reviewing the very positive feedback from our recent customer trial we've concluded it is no longer necessary or economically viable to supply Newcastle Brown Ale in returnable bottle."
He added that the review had ascertained it was more environmentally-friendly to use single glass recyclable bottles than transport, clean and refill returnable ones.
Talks with employees affected by the closure began today "with the aim of seeking alternative employment through redeployment opportunities within the wider S&N business", Jowsey added.