Page last updated at 17:34 GMT, Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Historic brewery set for closure

beer bottles
Beer has been made on the site since the 15th century

A 600-year-old brewery will close its west London site next year, leaving nearly 200 workers facing redundancy.

The Stag Brewery in Mortlake has operated since the 15th century and currently employs 182 staff.

Owner InBev said the facility, which brews Budweiser, Bud Ice and Michelob, will be closed under restructuring plans.

The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) called the decision a "sad day" for the drinks industry.

The decision follows InBev's merger with Anheuser-Busch last year.

In a statement, the company said: "This announcement is not a reflection on the quality of our employees, who will be an integral part of this process and will be treated with respect throughout."

We think we're a lean, mean brewing outfit, and we want to be given a chance
Brewing engineer Simon McGuinness

Simon McGuinness, brewing engineer and Unite steward, said: "Of course it's come as a shock. Some of us have only found out this morning.

"We think we're a lean, mean brewing outfit, and we want to be given a chance.

"The brewing industry is in recession, and every brewery is looking over its shoulder at the moment.

"Certainly the government hasn't helped with the excess duty on alcohol. They've been very punitive."

Global brewers

Iain Loe, of CAMRA, said: "This brewery has not made any real ale for a long time, but its closure is obviously a sad day for the industry and the workers.

"It is a reflection of what is happening, with firms becoming global brewers.

"It contrasts with what other firms such as Fuller's are doing, by investing in their breweries.

"Real ale is one of the growth areas in the industry and, especially in times of recession, InBev should be looking to invest in local breweries."

The brewery was previously owned by Watneys as well as a joint venture between Anheuser-Busch and Scottish Courage.

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