In an interview with The Morning Advertiser, Westwood stressed that the job losses were “an inevitability of an acquisition”, but said there would be no changes to the brewing staff, and that the company was in the process of hiring 20 new staff for a retail distribution site at the Bedford brewery.
“We carried out 360 separate interviews and had retained 85 people from Charles Wells, as well as significant restructuring at Marston’s, to take on the new business,” Westwood said.
“No matter how much you’d like to you can’t keep hold of everyone and, as a result of that, there will be around about 53 redundant jobs. We said at the time it would be more than 50 but less than 100. It will be ultimately less than 60.”
Head office closing down
Defending the decision to cut jobs, Westwood said: “I don’t think we have upset any people so far. From day one we have been very transparent with the workforce, and generally the team that has been based here has got on with the job really well.
“The head office here is effectively closing down. The brewing side and production management side will stay, as will some of the resource associated with world beers and parts of the marketing team, but the non-marketing and non-brewing people will transfer to us.
“We would have liked to seen a customs centre here but it’s just not as efficient as having a centralised operation. Making 53 job roles redundant is sad and it always will be sad, but it’s an inevitability of an acquisition.”
A 'clean' acquisition
Westwood confirmed that as of last Friday (28 July) the full integration of the Charles Wells brewery into Marston’s systems had taken place, and from Monday (31 July) all Charles Wells beer deliveries would be being handled by Marston’s.
“This process has gone as clean as any,” he said. “In a nutshell, we have hit every timescale we said we would.”
Marston’s acquired Charles Wells brewing business and distribution rights in a £55m deal this May.
The sale also included Charles Wells’ UK distribution rights for Kirin Lager, Estrella Damm, Erdinger and Founders, although Charles Wells retained its 200-plus pubs and other assets in the UK and France.
Charles Wells will now create a smaller, local microbrewery to produce its craft range. In the meantime, all Charles Wells beers will be produced and distributed by Marston’s.