Page last updated at 07:50 GMT, Friday, 21 May 2010 08:50 UK

Newcastle Brown Ale plant closes in Gateshead

Newcastle Brown Ale bottles
Newcastle Brown Ale has been brewed on Tyneside since 1927

The home of Newcastle Brown Ale will close later, as 83 years of brewing the beer on Tyneside comes to an end.

Heineken UK, which owns the Federation Brewery in Gateshead, is switching operations to the John Smiths plant in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire.

The last batch of ale was made two weeks ago and dispatched from the Dunston site on Thursday.

More than 50 people are losing their jobs as a result of the closure, which is being blamed on falling UK sales.

Jim Merrington, former commercial director at the old Newcastle brewery, said: "It's a very sad day for Tyneside. Not only is it the end of Newcastle Brown Ale being brewed here, it's also the end of the brewing heritage on Tyneside.

"There will be no major brewing plant left and it will all be small breweries again."

"The good news is that the brand, the beer, is still around, you will still be able to get Newcastle Brown Ale, and the legend will live on.

"There's more Newcastle Brown Ale drunk now in America than is drunk in Britain and perhaps if Geordies had supported it a bit more in recent years then it would have still been around in Tyneside."

Newcastle Brown Ale has been brewed on Tyneside since 1927.

Production moved across the River Tyne from Newcastle to Gateshead in 2005.

Heineken said out of the 63 workers losing their jobs, 12 would take up new employment with the company at other UK sites.

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