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Is it last orders for real ale?

PUBLISHED: 12:53 06 February 2008 | UPDATED: 11:30 01 July 2010

THE future of real ales is in danger following the acquisition of Britain s last major brewery. An announcement last Friday that Scottish and Newcastle is to be divided up among Carlsberg and Heineken

THE future of real ales is in danger following the acquisition of Britain's last major brewery.

An announcement last Friday that Scottish and Newcastle is to be divided up among Carlsberg and Heineken has been condemned by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) group.

They fear that real ales could disappear from pubs because of the takeover company's focus on lager and are appealing for real ale supplies to be safeguarded.

Ann Bill has run the Cressy Arms in Hawley Road, Wilmington, for four years and the pub has featured in CAMRA's prestigious Good Beer Guide for the last three years.

Mrs Bill said: "We get a lot of passing customers here and our real ales are very popular.

"If they don't supply me it will have a big impact on our livelihood. You're talking between three and four barrels a week, about 350 pints.

"It has taken a lot of hard work to get into the guide and it's even harder to stay in it once you've achieved that standard. We try to source at least one guest ale a week that people haven't tried.

CAMRA chief executive Mike Benner said a relentless obsession with pushing global lager brands will ultimately lead to less choice.

He added: "The deal raises many questions for real ale drinkers in this country.

"What impact will this have on traditional real ales such as John Smiths and smaller regional brands such as Magnet?

"We will be seeking reassurances from the new owners that they will invest in their real ale brands and breweries to meet the demands of today's beer drinkers who are increasingly demanding real ale."

CAMRA is concerned about the impact on WaverleyTBS, a major distributor of real ales, the contract brewing of Theakston's Best Bitter and the partnership with the Caledonian Brewing Company.

The campaign group are calling for a review of competition and consumer choice in the EU beer market.

Friday's takeover is likely to be scrutinised by the European Commission.

michael.adkins@archant.co.uk


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