A beer giant is to close an historic brewery, blaming fierce competition and the need to cut costs.

Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (CMBC) has announced plans to close Wychwood Brewery in Witney.

The firm said the closure would come in November when there is a break clause on CMBC’s lease with the landlord who owns the site.

The brewery will continue to operate as normal for the coming months.

Witney Gazette: Wychwood Brewery in Witney

Wychwood Brewery which is tucked away behind one of the main streets in Witney on Eagle Industrial Estate has been producing some of the finest beers for more than 150 years.

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The team made up of six brewers, have about 100 years of beer making experience between them.

Hobgoblin Gold took home two gold medals at the International Beer Challenge 2017 in London and the same year Wychwood Brewery was named best in the UK in a Trip Advisor poll.

There was a brewery established near the current site in 1841 but, Wychwood Brewery took on its current name in 1990. 

Hobgoblin ales, as well as Wychwood brands Firecatcher and Dry Neck beers, will be brewed at CMBC's other sites which include breweries such as Marston’s Brewery in Burton-on-Trent.  

Carlsberg said it will begin consultation with the six staff at Wychwood and will also try to redeploy them within the business where possible.

Paul Davies, CEO of Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company, said: “We understand the depth of feeling towards Wychwood Brewery, and have tremendous pride in our team there.

Witney Gazette: Wychwood Brewery in Witney

"Our number one focus is giving them all the support they need as we begin the consultation on this proposal.

“The UK ale market is an incredibly competitive space, and combined with a turbulent economic outlook for the UK provides for a challenging environment for industry to navigate.

"By making use of the break clause in our lease for Wychwood Brewery, we can consolidate our brewing network to achieve greater efficiency and productivity, supporting ongoing investment in our people and business.”

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Tony Goulding, chair of CAMRA Oxfordshire, said: "It's an absolute tragedy but we've been waiting for it.

"Since Covid they've done away with the brewery tours and the offices and all that's going on is brewing. They've even been brewing other ales in Witney and transporting them to their other sites.

"They  are not worried about craft ales. Big is beautiful, it's cheaper to produce mass produced ales never mind the quality.  

"It's nothing short of a tragedy."