Dawkins Ales shuts doors with a ‘heavy heart’

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Bristol closure: A final party was thrown on Saturday (credit: Getty/ Monty Rakusen)
Bristol closure: A final party was thrown on Saturday (credit: Getty/ Monty Rakusen)

Related tags Beer Brewery

Spiralling costs and post-Covid repercussions have led brewery Dawkins Ales to shut for good after a final send-off on Saturday (13 May).

The Bristol-based business, a staunch champion of real ale, announced its closure last week with “a heavy heart”.

This comes after data revealed​ the number of craft breweries going bust jumped more than threefold in 2022 as rising production costs and reduced consumer spending took their toll.

Founder of the brewery Glen Dawkins said: “Despite the amazing efforts of the brilliant team, we could not continue against the overwhelming headwinds of spiralling costs alongside post Covid recovery.

“I have seen many fellow brewers succumb​ and I am devastated to be joining them.”

Dawkins acquired the brewery, previously known as Matthews Brewing Co, in January 2010.

Final farewell

The closing party took place on Saturday form 3pm to 11pm and was free entry for guests all day. Roots Society Soundsystem threw a final boogie at the brewery’s BS5 taproom.

Dawkins thanked customers for all their support as the brewery grew, as well as for their help during Covid and the recession. “Good beers and good times were had, and we will miss you all,” he added.

Some 38 UK breweries became insolvent in 2022, up from nine in 2021, according to data obtained by accountancy firm Price Bailey from the Insolvency Service.

Dawkins Ale pubs, a sister company to the brewery, will remain open to serve their communities.

Blessed with breweries

“We are blessed with some excellent independent breweries​ and pubs in Bristol,” Dawkins added, “raise a glass in them when you can!”

The business has celebrated a colourful history. It was an early member of the SIBA Assured British Craft Brewer Initiative, and expanded into Edinburgh, Scotland, in 2016.

The company’s estate now boasts six pubs in Bristol and three in Scotland’s capital city.

During Covid, the microbrewer turned to home deliveries, but with pubs generating 90% of business, it found things tough.

On 19 February 2021, the brewery launched a Crowdfunder to see them through. The response from the public was “fantastic” and exceeded expectations.

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