Skip to main content
7th March 2022

Wood’s Brewery in Shropshire shuts amid “unfavourable trading conditions”

Wood’s Brewery of Wistanstow, near Craven Arms, in Shropshire confirmed on 1 March 2022 that it has ceased trading due to “unfavourable trading conditions”. They “thanked everybody who supported us over this 42-year journey, especially our staff and customers, and wish you all good health, personally and business-wise, in the future”.

Wood’s Brewery was founded by Edward Wood and his family in 1980, and is well-known for its Shropshire Lad, Shropshire Lass and Wood’s Wonderful beers, which it supplies to many pubs across the county and wider afield. The brewery also operates the Plough Inn at Wistanstow, next to the brewery, which is unaffected by the closure.

Wood’s was one of the pioneers of the “real-ale” revolution, which led to the revival of the independent brewing industry in the Midlands. It was also a founder member of the Small Independent Brewers Association (SIBA). It has closed just months after celebrating its belated  40th anniversary at the Shrewsbury Oktoberfest in October last year. It seems that the brewery’s dependence on the pub trade, rather than the bottled beer market made it particularly susceptible to the adverse effects of the lockdown restrictions.

In 2018, Edward Wood sold the business to Stephen O’Neill and Patrick McGuckian, but remained as managing director of the company. They were also planning to expand into the growing craft beer market, dispensing beer in pressurised kegs rather than in casks.

The Shropshire branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) said it was “a sad day for brewing in west Shropshire” and the news “came on top of a number of closures of small and micro-breweries”. “Wood’s was on a different scale, and shows how much we need the government to take action to protect and support small and regional brewers”.

However, Gary Walters, managing director of nearby Ludlow Brewery hasn’t ruled out trying to save some of Wood’s iconic beers, like Shropshire Lad, its top-selling beer. He was “surprised and very saddened to hear the news that Wood’s, one of the region’s oldest breweries, had closed”. “There was a great team at Wood’s and I wish them all the best”. “Shropshire Lad is a quality real ale and it would be a shame if this iconic beer is lost. Unfortunately, we are not in a position to be able to add another permanent beer to our range at the moment”.

News update from Steve James

Source: BBC News; Shropshire Star