Watney Combe Reid - the Stag Brewery, Mortlake 1989
© Copyright Stephen Williams and
licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
Seems that the last vestige of the old Watney Mann empire will be swept away in 2010 with InBev's proposal to close the Budweiser plant at Mortlake, formerly Watney's Stag Brewery. The company adds all the usual weasel words that always accompany such things: "no reflection on our workforce", "changing market conditions", "increases in taxation" "need for synergies after our takeover of AB" etc. etc.
It is always sad to see a brewery close, but this had an air of inevitability about it. A declining brand, a large and expensive brewery and the need to pay for a takeover. Nobody will miss the beer which will be trunked in seamlessly and tastelessly from elsewhere - though goodness know where that elsewhere is - but people will lose their jobs. That's never a cause for celebration. Maybe this is the beginning of the end for Budweiser in the European market, where it has no real following anyway. The King of Beers? Seems to me more hollow a phrase than ever.
The Stag Brewery in Mortlake, West London, which employs 182 workers, dates back to the 15th century and is one of the oldest brewery sites in the UK.