The chairman of Oxfordshire's Hook Norton Brewery, Richard Gilchrist, has been killed in a riding accident during a hunt meeting in South Cheshire.
Brewery chief executive James Clarke said staff, licensees and customers had been deeply saddened at the sudden loss.
"Richard Gilchrist was committed to Hook Norton and forged a close working relationship with brewery staff, pub tenants and free trade customers.
"He had been at the brewery on a number of occasions since the new year discussing the best way the company could meet the challenge of the current economic downturn.
"He was a close colleague who always had the interests of the company close to heart and we are all devastated by his loss.
"We would like to extended our deepest sympathy to his wife and children," Clarke said.
It is understood Gilchrist, 57, fell from his horse while riding with the Cheshire Hunt on Saturday and suffered fatal injuries.
He came from a well-known north west brewing family, which owned the Burtonwood Brewery near Warrington, where he had also been chairman, until it was acquired by Marston's in 2004.
Police said they were called to an incident near Malpas, South Cheshire, at 1pm on Saturday after a man fell from his horse.
The Health & Safety Executive and the HM Coroner have both been informed of the incident.
Gilchrist, who lived in Broxton near Chester, leaves a wife Catherine and two young daughters.