It has just been announced that S&N have agreed an eight billion takeover from the Carlsberg / Heineken consortium. Full details are yet known, but it seems Heineken will take over the UK operations. Carlsberg will get control of BBH (Baltic Beverage Holdings) which which it jointly owned with S&N. This coveted East European operation, proved to be the killer for S&N rather than the goose that laid the golden egg. Carlsberg wanted it and to get it, it had to take Scottish and Newcastle out.
I am saddened by this, not for any beer reasons, but S&N was our last big beer player and one of the biggest companies (or maybe the biggest) still headquarted in Scotland. I remember as a boy in the 60's waiting for the bus to school at the Black Bull back home in Dumbarton and seeing the draymen unload. It was S&N then, but everyone called them "Scottish Brewers". They still did when I worked in the pub years later when I used to check the beer in and get the draymen a pint. Now the smile has been wiped off the McEwan's Cavalier and Father William will be weeping in his grave.
In the UK, we will now have a company (Heineken) with no experience of ale brewing, taking over S&N's breweries here in Manchester, in Gateshead, Tadcaster and Reading. It presumably puts the future of Tetley in Leeds in some (more) doubt. The dust has not had time to settle, but this has yet to play out fully.
William Younger merged with fellow Edinburgh brewer William McEwan to form Scottish Brewers in 1913, before merging with Newcastle Breweries in 1960 to become Scottish & Newcastle.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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