Boddington's Brewery to close

Interbrew will produce 'Cream of Manchester' elsewhere

Sept 9, 2004 - Union leaders and members of Britain's Campaign for Real Ale were quick to protest after plans were announced to close Manchester's famous Boddington's Brewery.


Interbrew, the Belgian company which owns the Boddingtons brand, announced the site will be shut down next February and 55 workers will be laid off. Steve Cahillane, chief executive of Interbrew UK and Ireland, said: "To reach this position on Boddingtons Brewery has been extremely difficult. But in a highly competitive environment, it is just not sustainable to continue brewing keg ales at Boddingtons and then transport them to our other brewery sites for packaging."

Union leaders counter that "corporate greed" is to blame for the demise of the famous beer, "The Cream of Manchester" brewed in the city for past two centuries. The beer, which became a symbol of northern pride, will now be brewed in south Wales, Preston or Glasgow.

"This is about corporate greed," said union spokesman Franny Joyce. "It is not a loss making brewery. If they pull out of Manchester the brand will die. It won't be the Cream of Manchester, it will become the 'Sour grapes of South Wales.'"

CAMRA announced it will campaign to keep the Boddingtons (Strangeways) Brewery open and is resurrecting the Boddingtons Action Group, set up in 1989 to keep the Boddingtons Brewery out of the hands of Whitbread.

"We're appalled at this decision," said Mike Benner of CAMRA. "Boddingtons Brewery is one of the best known British breweries and to close it after nearly 230 years shows little regard by Interbrew for Britain's beer heritage or the people of Manchester. Despite claims to be the 'World's Local Brewer,' Interbrew is riding roughshod over British brewing. Strangeways is the home of the 'Cream of Manchester' and for beer, there's no place like home."

Comedian Bernard Manning, a Boddingtons drinker, offered and interesting view. "It is the best beer there is. People swear by it," he said. "Still I suppose its staying in the UK, its not going to India like everything else where they only pay them two bob a week."

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