Final bid to save brewery

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The Independent Online
A LAST-DITCH bid to keep the Home Brewery in Nottingham open, after the shock news of its closure by Britain's biggest brewer Scottish & Newcastle, was under way this weekend.

Workers, unions and local MP Adrian Mitchell agreed on Friday night to write to S&N chairman Guy Dixon asking him to consider alternatives, including an employee buyout.

S&N said last Tuesday it was to shut the plant, as well as Halifax's Fountain Head, with the loss of 1,600 jobs in the continuing shake-out following the Government's Beer Orders in 1989, which forced brewers to sell off many of their tied pubs.

Ivan Gollop, leader of the local Gedling Borough Council, said sale of the site for retail development would meet strong opposition as the main office block is a Grade II listed building.

S&N has said it will consider offers for the site as a brewery, but it has already transferred the Home ale brands to a neighbouring brewer, Mansfield.

Without pub supply contracts, a buyout would face an uphill battle, but employees are determined to canvass help from other independents such as the Tolly Cobbold pub chain.

The closure emphasises the market's dire straits; at present, there is only demand for four out of every five pints the industry can brew. Camra, the Campaign for Real Ale, warned this weekend that S&N's Courage brewery in Bristol could be next.

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