Eagle brewery sale highlights imbalance in UK beer market, says CAMRA
The news that Carlsberg-Marstons is disposing of yet another historic brewery site, this time in Bedford, highlights the dominance of global brewers in the UK beer market, further squeezing our small and independent brewers, says the Campaign for Real Ale.
Carlsberg-Marstons has sold the Eagle Brewery in Bedford to Spanish produce Estrella Damm, the latest in a series of sales and closures in a beer market dominated by international brewing businesses. London-based Fullers has recently passed into the ownership of Ashai, many smaller independent breweries have been swallowed up by global giants, and Carlsberg-Marstons has just closed its Jennings brewery site.
CAMRA believes it is a continuing sign of the difficulty that UK owned breweries are finding in competing against a few huge global brewing giants, which now produce around 70 per cent of the beer made in the UK.
CAMRA chairman Nik Antona said: “This latest news highlights a global brewing market which is massively unbalanced, grants too much power to the international brewing giants and increasingly makes it impossible for independent, British brewers to compete. We believe that the UK beer market, and particularly the on-trade, needs constant monitoring by Competition Authorities, as a result of the continual consolidations that have taken place in the last five or so years.
“It’s small comfort, but at least the Eagle Brewery in Bedford is being sold as a going concern, and the brands which were born and brewed there will find new homes at other Carlsberg-Marstons breweries. We’re also optimistic that maximising production at Carlsberg-Marstons’s remaining breweries will maintain profitability and dissuade the company from further site closures and job losses.”