In a move that surprises no-one, the S&N keg only plant at Reading is to close with a loss of 360 jobs. Is this the start of the fallout from the Carlsberg/Heineken takeover? No is the answer. The writing has been on the wall for Reading since the packaging plant was closed last year and much production (anyone know of what?)*was contracted to Coors last year. The takeover consortium has been aware of this as part of "due diligence".
S&N produces mainly Fosters and Kronenbourg there. Both brands, Fosters in particular, seem to be in terminal decline. Interestingly, overcapacity is cited as a main reason for closure. The production will be moved to Tadcaster, Manchester and Dunston.
This underlines that brewery closure and consolidation has a way to go yet. The overcapacity for production of "standard" lager and the sharp decline in tired old "brands" has yet to fully play out. With Coors bringing in a 4% Dutch brewed Grolsch and Becks Vier already established, previously sacred cows will go. No-one in their right minds will miss them.
The Reading Brewery is the last of the "old" Courage breweries to close. It was opened in 1979.
* Seems it was 3 million hectolitres of Fosters and Kronenbourg!!
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