UK: Carlsberg Marston's to Shut Down Ringwood Brewery

Carlsberg Marston's Brewing Company (CMBC) has revealed plans to close Ringwood Brewery next month, after unsuccessful attempts to sell the site. Efforts to find a buyer for the brewery and its iconic Ringwood Ale brands, such as Razorback, Old Thumper, Boondoggle, and Fortyniner, since listing it for sale in June, (, 7.6.2023) proved unsuccessful, according to CMBC.

 A spokesperson for CMBC expressed the challenges faced over the past six months, stating, "Despite our best efforts, we were unable to secure a credible offer which met our bidding threshold, and had to conclude there was no viable path forward for Ringwood."

Due to the inability to find a buyer and the complexity of expanding the brewery located in a residential area, CMBC has decided to relocate the production of the brands to other facilities. Paul Davies, CEO of CMBC, explained the decision made in June, highlighting the impracticality of investing in the required capacity and capability upgrades for Ringwood Brewery.

Established in 1978 in Ringwood, Hampshire, the brewery initially expanded to its current location in 1986. Known for its cask ales and distinctive boar mascot featured on all its beers, Ringwood Brewery faced a significant decline in production, losing 75% of its output over the past decade.

Observers attribute this decline to a lack of support for the brands by CMBC. Sponsorships of major events such as the New Forest Show, the Ellingham Show, and the Great Dorset Steam Fair were canceled, and the production of bottled beers was relocated to Burton-on-Trent.

The closure of Ringwood Brewery aligns with CMBC's broader business strategy to streamline operations.

In October 2020, less than one week after the British Competition and Markets Authority approved the GBP 780 million (USD 950m) joint venture between Carlsberg UK and Marston's (, 22.5.2020), the latter announced the elimination of 2,150 jobs. However, the company claimed that the timing of the two announcements was purely coincidental. (, 15.10.2020)

In December 2021, CMBC announced the closure of the craft brewer London Fields Brewery (, 8.12.2021), which Carlsberg had acquired four years earlier for a reported sum of GBP 4 million (USD 5.3m) (, 3.7.2017). Nevertheless, in May 2023, the company successfully sold it to the north London pub company Grace Land Group for an undisclosed sum.

In November 2022, Spanish brewer S.A. Damm agreed to acquire the Eagle Brewery in Bedford, UK, from CMBC, excluding the Eagle Brewery’s brand portfolio. (, 7.11.2022). The former Charles Wells brewery had been purchased five years earlier from the founder’s family (, 29.5.2017) for a cash consideration of GBP 55 million (USD 71m), plus working capital adjustments.

In September 2023, CMBC announced its intention to close Wychwood Brewery in Witney, known for popular beer brands like Hobgoblin ales, Firecatcher, and Dry Neck beers. Paul Davies attributed this decision to the intense competition in the UK ale market and economic uncertainties (, 14.9.2023).

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