Brewery in China ponders a John Bull takeaway

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The Independent Online
CHINA may soon be in for a cultural awakening in the form of the Romford Brewery, which satisfied the liquid needs of Essex man for more than a quarter of a century.

An unknown company in China has become interested in buying most of the defunct brewery's equipment, which is capable of churning out 216 million pints of beer a year.

Romford ceased to be the productive home of John Bull Bitter last January, when 300 jobs went as Allied-Lyons, the brewery's owner, closed it under the impact of the continuing decline in beer consumption in the UK. The brewery, in the heart of Essex, also produced three lager brands - Skol, Lowenbrau and Castlemaine XXXX.

Allied, which has since integrated its brewing operations in the UK through a joint venture with Carlsberg of Denmark, declined to name the prospective buyer.

'All we can say is that we are trying to sell the hardware of the brewery, and that a brewery in China is interested in buying a very large proportion of it,' a spokesman for the Carlsberg-Tetley joint venture company said.

The entire contents of the brewhouse are for sale. They comprise one mash tun, a lauter tun, which separates the grain from the liquid wort, two coppers, which are used to boil the wort, a wort receiver, and fermenting tanks.

'The equipment at Romford is state-of-the-art,' the Carlsberg- Tetley spokesman added.

Buying secondhand is a much cheaper option for the Chinese than making the equipment. Brewing tuns and coppers do not come in standard sizes, but are made to breweries' individual specifications.

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