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Tyne and tears: Newcastle Brown Ale is leaving the toon



By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 8:04 AM on 14th October 2009




article-1220212-06CDFE44000005DC-834_233x470.jpg Disgrace: Newcastle Brown Ale will no longer be brewed on Tyneside


For decades, it held the same reputation in Newcastle as champagne in France.

But yesterday it was revealed the city’s world famous Brown Ale is to leave the toon.

The announcement, by brewers Scottish & Newcastle, marks the end of 82 years of tradition.

The decision, which will also mean the loss of 63 jobs, was branded ‘a disgrace’.

From next year production will move to the John Smith’s Brewery in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire.

Newcastle Brown is currently made at the Federation Brewery in Dunston, Gateshead, after production was switched from Newcastle four years ago.

S&N bosses blamed the economic downturn for the decision and insisted every effort will be made to seek alternative employment for affected workers.

The brand owners won Protected Geographical Indication status from the EU, meaning Newcastle Brown Ale had to be brewed in the city, but that lapsed with the shift a couple of miles across the River Tyne to Gateshead, in 2005.

Now production will move even further away - nearly 90 miles down the A1.


Paul Hoffman, S&N operations director, said: ‘Clearly this is a very sad day, but the proposal to close Dunston is not a decision we take lightly. Falling beer sales have created general over-capacity in the UK brewing sector and rising costs have put unprecedented pressure on our business.’

'The proposals we are announcing today are designed to address these challenges and to ensure that we remain competitive in the future.

'The Dunston site is currently running at around 60 per cent capacity and our ability to consolidate beer production onto other sites presents a strong case for closure.

'We will, of course, do all we can to mitigate the effects of the closure on the people affected over the coming months."


The Dunston Brewery was acquired by S&N in 2004 when the firm bought the assets of the Northern Clubs Federation Brewery. All beer production – including Newcastle Brown – transferred to Dunston from the former Tyne brewery when it closed in 2005.

S&N said closing Dunston was the most viable option following a review of its brewing sites.

But Jeff Tate, regional officer for the Unite union, described the decision as ‘an appalling state of affairs'.

‘To see a day when Newcastle Brown Ale is no longer brewed on Tyneside is a disgrace.


'It's not Newcastle Brown Ale if it is not made here,' he said.


Mr Tate was concerned that, although the Newcastle brewery closed in 2005, no redevelopment had taken place on the huge site.

He said that, when production moved to Dunston, it had bottling, kegging and canning facilities, all of which have since been shut.

'They have run the site down since the move,' he added.


Roger Kelly, Gateshead Council’s chief executive, said: ‘We are extremely disappointed that nobody talked to us about this before the announcement.’

The famous bottled beer, with its iconic blue star label, first went on sale in 1927 and was brewed next to St James's Park football ground in Newcastle until 2005.

The day after "Broon's" launch, it was said the local police appealed to the brewery to make it weaker because the cells were full of drunks.

The ale was also dubbed "dog" by drinkers, as they would make the excuse of going to "walk the dog" when nipping to the pub.

Many Geordies will remember with affection the sweet yeasty smell rolling across the city from the plant, which was demolished last year to make way for a science park.


Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1220212/Tyne-tears-Newcastle-Brown-Ale-leaving-toon.html#ixzz0Tuiy4UHs

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