Wychwood Brewery 'latest casualty at hands of global brewers'

By The Morning Advertiser

- Last updated on GMT

Challenging economic environment: decline of UK cask ale market contributed to Wychwood Brewery closure (Credit: Getty/Klaus Vedfelt)
Challenging economic environment: decline of UK cask ale market contributed to Wychwood Brewery closure (Credit: Getty/Klaus Vedfelt)

Related tags Beer Cask ale Finance Brewing

Wychwood Brewery is the “latest casualty” at the hands of “global brewers”, The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) said.

Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (CMBC) announced the closure of Wychwood brewery​, which brand’s include Hobgoblin and Firecracker, on Wednesday 13 September.

The site will be closed from November this year, in line with the break clause on the company’s lease with the landlord, and Wychwood’s brands will continue to be brewed within the CMBC network.

CAMRA national chairman Nik Antona said: “Too many breweries across the UK are shutting their doors forever at an alarming rate. 

“Whilst it is heartening to know the Wychwood brand will continue in some fashion at CMBC and the iconic Brakspear Double Drop beer will live on at Banks’s, it is a great shame for Oxfordshire to lose such a classic, recognisable brewery. 

Diminishing choice 

“Fresh off the heels of closing Jennings brewery in Cumbria and selling off Ringwood brewery of Hampshire, it is worrying to see the UK’s brewing heritage slowly erode. 

“The diminishing consumer choice at the hands of the commercial giants is of great concern.” 

A spokesperson for CMBC told The Morning Advertiser​ a “significant decline” in the UK’s cask ale market alongside a “challenging economic environment” contributed to the closure of the brewery in Witney, Oxfordshire.

The “cost and complexity” involved to bring Wychwood Brewery up to CMBC’s “standards” also meant the site was no longer “viable option”, the spokesperson added.

“Significant investment would be required to bring Wychwood up to the efficiency and sustainability standards our business requires.

Incredible legacy 

“However, as CMBC leases the Wychwood Brewery from the site’s landlord and are not the owner, the cost and complexity involved meant this was not a viable option.

“In the current challenging economic environment, and with the significant decline of the cask ale market in the UK as well as the substantial rise in energy and commodity costs, we are having to carefully consider where we invest to achieve a successful, financially sustainable ale business”, the spokesperson said.

In addition, the spokesperson explained CMBC was “planning to consolidate” its brewing activity in Northampton, Wolverhampton and Burton-on-Trent in a bid to be “more efficient and focus on investments that best support customers and colleagues”.

The spokesperson continued: “As the birthplace of Hobgoblin ales, Wychwood Brewery will leave an incredible legacy, which will be carried on through its excellent brands.

“We are immensely grateful to the team at Wychwood for their hard work, passion and dedication.”

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