MCBC confirms closure of National Brewery Centre

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Devastating loss: MCBC announces closure of National Brewery Centre (Credit: Getty/Lingbeek)
Devastating loss: MCBC announces closure of National Brewery Centre (Credit: Getty/Lingbeek)

Related tags Molson coors brewing company Brewery Brewing

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has called for brewing artefacts to be “safeguarded” following the “devastating” announcement the UK’s only museum dedicated to brewery history will close later this year.

Molson Coors Beverage Company (MCBC) recently announced the closure of National Brewery Centre (NBC) in Burton Upon Trent, Staffordshire, in October, with plans to turn the venue into the company’s head offices.

CAMRA national director for real ale, cider and perry campaigns Gillian Hough said: “The planned closure of the National Brewery Centre in October will be a devastating loss not only to Burton upon Trent but also to the nation’s brewing history.

“As one of the largest brewers in the world, Molson Coors have a responsibility to safeguard historical and educational facilities under its care.

“It is extremely concerning Molson Coors is putting profits over protecting Burton’s place in global brewing history.

Important heritage 

“CAMRA is urging Molson Coors to reverse their decision, invest in the Centre in its current location and ensure its collections are open and accessible to the public. 

"[We] are poised ready to be part of a new campaign to save the National Brewery Centre and preserve the collections for generations to come.” 

However, MCBC maintained it was “committed to protecting this important heritage” and relocating to the NBC would allow the company to keep its some 500 employees who use its head offices as well as bring them closer to the company’s Burton Brewery.

Molson Coors Beverage Company HR and facilities director Adam Firby said: “Since agreeing to sell our current head office site to support Burton town centre’s redevelopment, we’ve been focused on finding a new head office home in Burton.

“Our priority was always to try and stay in the town centre, if at all possible, which is why we explored the NBC as one of the few options available to us."

Firby added the company was "very pleased" to remain in Burton town centre, but recognised the closure of the centre was not without its challenges.

Sensitively redevelop  

MCBC stated it was committed to working with Planning Solutions Limited, the National Brewing Heritage Trust and the council to manage the closure of the site as "sensitively as possible" as well as finding a new home for the centre. 

Additionally, East Staffordshire Borough Council said it was committed to retaining all of the items, artefacts and archives from the NBC and ensuring they are kept within the town as well as working with local historians to explore opportunities for expanding the proposed new centre in a way that can best incorporate the items.

However, Hough added while CAMRA could see the benefit of relocating the archives to a site to be properly stored and maintained, a limited display of materials in a new location was not an adequate replacement for the only museum in the UK focused solely on brewing heritage.

Firby said: “As part of the redevelopment plans for the town we can see the great potential for the proposed Heritage Centre, and its possible expansion into Bass House, to preserve the valuable artefacts and archives that form such an important part of our local and national brewing heritage, keeping the collection in the heart of the town centre for generations to come.

“We’ll continue to work with local stakeholders as we progress our plans to sensitively redevelop the National Brewery Centre site, preserving the historic buildings on the site, including the Heritage Brewery, while creating a great head office for our people.”

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