Heineken looks to close Caledonian Brewery

By Nikkie Thatcher contact

- Last updated on GMT

Staff impact: 30 jobs at the brewery are at risk
Staff impact: 30 jobs at the brewery are at risk

Related tags: Beer, Heineken, Lager

Drinks giant Heineken UK has proposed the closure of its Caledonian Brewery, citing the decades old infrastructure causing “significant inefficiencies and costs” as one of the reasons behind the decision.

The closure of the historic building, which has been running for more than 150 years, would mean a loss of 30 jobs.

The announcement also included an agreement in principle with Greene King to continue brewing Caledonian’s brands such as Deuchars and Maltsmiths, at its Belhaven Brewery in Dunbar, Scotland.

According to Heineken, its focus in the near future will be consulting on the proposals with the 30 workers from the Edinburgh brewery and their trade union/colleague representatives. During this consultation period, the brewery will continue to operate.

The announcement follows production at the site steadily declining over the past decade as the brewery has evolved its portfolio.

Operating below capacity

Heineken UK supply chain director Matt Callan said: “We’ve not taken this decision lightly. We’re acutely aware of what the brewery represents in Edinburgh and its role in the history and heritage of brewing in Scotland – this is something we’re incredibly proud of.

“Our primary focus is the 30 colleagues based there and we will now enter into a period of consultation.

“The sad fact is, its Victorian infrastructure means significant inefficiencies and costs, particularly as it is operating below capacity.

“To modernise the brewery and to meet our own sustainability commitments, would require considerable ongoing investment, which would make operating the brewery economically unviable.”

Caledonian was established in Edinburgh and is the last of 41 City Breweries. Heineken took on the operation of the brewery in 2008, after the acquisition of Scottish & Newcastle.

Brewing plan

Callan added: “We’re also aware the beers produced at Caledonian Brewery are enjoyed by many people across Edinburgh, Scotland and beyond.

“That’s why we are working hard to ensure the Caledonian brands will continue to be produced in Scotland if the proposed closure goes ahead.

“We’ve an agreement in principle of licence the brands to Greene King, which will brew Deuchars, Coast to Coast and Maltsmiths IPA and Lager at its Belhaven Brewery in Dunbar.”

Greene King brewing and brands managing director Matt Starbuck said the brands were long loved in Scotland and beyond and the company was proud to be able to continue to brew them so they can be enjoyed by consumers and customers alike.

“This agreement underlines our commitment to Belhaven Brewery as Scotland’s oldest working brewery and boosts our portfolio of beers,” he added.

Related topics: Beer

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