Molson Coors UK & Ireland has confirmed plans to close or sell its Burtonwood brewery by the end of September 2021. It’s only five and a half years ago that Molson Coors purchased the brewing and kegging operations in Burtonwood, Warrington from Thomas Hardy Brewing and Packaging.
A total of 25 jobs are now at risk. According to Molson Coors, the move will “help to drive efficiencies”. "Burtonwood Brewery currently produces just one per cent of our volume, and it is proposed that production would transfer to other sites across our UK network," a Molson Coors spokesman told the Warrington Guardian.
Not affected by the closure is the bottling business on site which was not sold to Molson Coors in March 2015. The owner, Thomas Hardy, offers contract bottling to other beverage producers. The business is booming and Thomas Hardy just recently installed a second bottling line. The company has today twelve main customers ranging from international breweries to market leading soft drink companies.
The brewery itself was founded in 1867. In 1999 Peter Ward, father of the current owner Chris Ward bought the Burtonwoodbrewery and made it part of Thomas Hardy Brewing and Packaging. He had worked in the brewing industry for more than three decades, followed by an consultancy job for World Bank where he valued breweries all over the world, when he stepped over the Eldridge Pope brewery in Dorchester in 1998 and saw an opportunity for a contract bottling business. He established Thomas Hardy Brewing and Packaging, and later purchased plants in Tiverton and Kendal as well as Burtonwood.
"We are providing every support to the 25 impacted employees and have now entered a period of consultation,” the Molson Coors spokesman commented the proposed closure. "As part of this proposal, we are seeking to minimize any redundancies by marketing the site as a going concern or redeploying staff where appropriate.”
People close to the matter now speculate if Thomas Hardy will buy back the brewery thus saving the jobs and keeping the history of the brewery alive.