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9th July 2024

CAMRA condemns flogging off of UK’s cask brewing assets

Consumer group unhappy at UK’s largest cask beer producer selling brewing operations to global brewer

The Campaign for Real Ale has said it is fearful about the future of UK beers, brands and breweries following the announcement that Marston’s is selling all its remaining ‘non-core’ brewing assets to a subsidiary of Carlsberg, to focus on running pubs.

Marston’s is selling its 40 per cent stake in the Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company joint venture, ending almost 200 years of brewing heritage which began with Banks and Company at the Park brewery, Wolverhampton in 1875.

The sale comes after Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company introduced its ‘Fresh Ale’ concept earlier this year. ‘Fresh Ales’ are kegged versions of cask beers, served through traditional handpumps at the bar reserved for cask conditioned beer.

CAMRA slammed the move as misleading to consumers and damaging to traditional cask ale, while also reporting the brewing giant to Trading Standards.

Commenting on Marston’s selling the remainder of its brewing operations, CAMRA Chairman Nik Antona said:

“This is a worrying development for Britain’s brewing heritage with Marston’s remaining brewing assets being transferred to a global brewing business which has already presided over the closure of historic breweries like Jennings in Cumbria and Charles Wells Eagle in Bedford, stopped selling cask ale in Scotland and has introduced an extremely damaging ‘fresh ale’ concept which is misleading to pubgoers and threatens the future of British cask conditioned ale.

“CAMRA fears that this announcement could lead to a further erosion of the UK’s rich brewing history for the benefit of conglomerate global brewers – and particularly the commitment to brewing cask. The consolidation of the brewing industry into just a few large, international players erodes our brewing heritage, consumer choice, the diversity of beer in pubs across the country and the access to market for small, independent producers.

“Having Marston’s pubs continuing to be subject to an anti-competitive supply tie by Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company is also a cause for concern, limiting choice for customers of great locally produced beer and cider from independent producers nationwide.

“Marston’s and CMBC bosses must commit to the future of brewing cask, improving consumer choice at the bar, protecting Britain’s brewing heritage and scrapping their damaging fresh ale concept once and for all.”


About CAMRA:

CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, is a not-for-profit consumer group with over 150,000 members that has been operating since 1971. Our vision is to have quality real ale and thriving pubs in every community.

Media Contact:  

CAMRA Press Office:

01727 337863

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