5 Dec 2008

Heineken to shut brewery in Ireland

9:00 am on 5 December 2008

Heineken NV announced on Thursday it is closing one of Ireland's oldest breweries, Beamish & Crawford in the city of Cork.

The giant Dutch brewing group took control of the 210-year-old operation in October.

The brewery is best known for making Beamish, one of Ireland's three brands of dark-brown stout.

Heineken said it would close in March with the loss of 120 jobs, about three-fifths of the work force. The rest would transfer to a Cork brewery that Heineken has owned since 1983, where it makes a stout, Murphy's.

Heineken gained control of the Beamish brewery in October after a six-month investigation by Ireland's Competition Authority ruled that it would not be a conflict of interest for Heineken to produce both stouts.

Business and political leaders warned that the takeover would mean the death-knell of the brewery.

Both Cork brands have struggled for market share against Dublin-based Guinness, which is owned by British drinks company Diageo.

Heineken won ownership of Beamish's brands and brewery as part of a much larger joint takeover, with Danish brewers Carlsberg, of British brewers Scottish & Newcastle.