Manchester-based brewer and pub company Hydes is to close its 150-year-old Queens Brewery in Moss Side ahead of a move to a new facility in the area and withdraw from the free trade market.
The company said it had identified "a number of suitable premises" that met its needs for the future and would invest £2m in the new site, although the loss of a "number of jobs" were also anticipated.
The new facility is expected to focus on the production of high quality beers targeted at the growing cask ale sector, including Hydes staples like Hydes Original and Manchester's Finest, as well as a range of seasonal and themed craft ales.
Meanwhile its free trade interests will be sold to Daniel Thwaites to ensure continued supply to free trade customers, and the Hydes free trade sales team and some free trade support staff will transfer to Thwaites as part of the deal.
"This was a very difficult decision for us to take and although it will be sad to see brewing end at Queens Brewery it is simply not sustainable" commented Hydes managing director Chris Hopkins (pictured).
"The site was built over 150 years ago and is not able to meet the challenges of efficient production and distribution of beer in the 21st century. Given the imminent conclusion of a major contract brewing arrangement the site is not suitable for the company's future requirements, particularly given the level of maintenance expenditure which will only increase as time goes by. We very much regret the likelihood of job losses but in order for the company to remain competitive in a very challenging sector there is no realistic alternative.
"The proposed investment in the new brewery indicates Hydes continuing commitment to the brewing of great cask ales in Manchester. These changes will also allow for an increased management focus on the company's pub estate and will accelerate plans for capital investment in refurbishments and the acquisition of new sites."
By Neil Gerrard
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