Closure of historic Jennings Brewery a 'devastating blow' for Cumbria's brewing heritage

08 September 2022 by
Closure of historic Jennings Brewery a 'devastating blow' for Cumbria's brewing heritage

The proposed closure of the historic Jennings Brewery in Cockermouth, Cumbria, would be a "devastating blow" for the area's brewing heritage, it has been warned.

Carlsberg Marston's Brewing Company (CMBC) said this week it is exploring a potential sale of the site, and has proposed closing the brewery in early October.

Jennings Brewery was founded by the Jennings family in 1828 and moved to its current home in 1874. It was acquired by Marston's PLC in 2005.

CMBC said it had taken the "extremely difficult decision" to explore a sale as the site had been operating below capacity for several years.

If the brewery closes, Jennings Cumberland Cask ale and bottles beer brands will be produced at Marston's Brewery in Burton.

Nik Antona, chairman of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said the move was a "devastating blow" for the area's brewing heritage and called on CMBC to look at continuing to produce beer in Cumbria.

It comes after Heineken announced plans to close the 153-year-old Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh and move production to another site earlier this year.

Antona said: "Sadly, this is now an expected consequence of global brewers entering and consolidating the UK beer market – shutting distinctive regional brands and eroding the nation's brewing history.

"In these situations, it's consumers and independent producers that suffer, as small brewers struggle further to access the pub market and choice at the bar is restricted."

CMBC said it was exploring options to redeploy staff to other areas of the company.

Paul Davies, chief executive of CMBC, said: "We understand this news will be very difficult for our team at Jennings and disappointing to many other colleagues, consumers and customers. But with the economic headwinds impacting our industry we must continue to make the difficult choices we believe are needed to ensure CMBC is well placed to navigate the unprecedented external challenges we are facing, and ensure we are able to grow and sustain our position as a leading business in the brewing industry."

Photo: Clint 42/Shutterstock

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