Time called on beer production at historic Wickwar Brewery

December 22 2020
Time called on beer production at historic Wickwar Brewery

BEER production has ended at Wickwar Brewery, with the loss of five jobs.

The Wickwar Wessex Pub Company announced on December 16 that brewing at the site in Station Road, which first opened 160 years ago, had ceased with immediate effect.

The closure has been blamed on the effect of COVID-19 on the brewing and hospitality sectors, which the company said had hit regional brewers in particular.

As well as leaving the brewery site, which was leased, the company has also put the brewery shop opposite up for sale and will close it in January.

It brings to an end a 30-year stint of ale production in the village by the Wickwar Brewing Company. The brewery itself dates back to 1860, when it was built using stone excavated during the constriction of the nearby railway line.

Announcing the closure on its website, the pub company said: "This has been an incredibly difficult, emotional and painful decision but is unavoidable given the impact of the pandemic."

The brewery's beers, including award-winning amber ale Bob, Falling Star, Cotswold Way and Station Porter, will continue to be brewed to contract at other breweries, as will the Moles ales acquired by Wickwar in 2017.

The Bristol-based Wickwar Wessex Pub Company will continue to sell the beers on draught in its 13 pubs around the region and in free houses, as well as in bottles via national retailers and corner shops.

Company spokesperson Abi Brown said: "COVID-19 has brought challenging times to the brewing and hospitality sectors throughout 2020, and the effects have been felt by regional brewers in particular.

"Unfortunately, after thirty enjoyable years of brewing in Wickwar, Wickwar Wessex Brewing Company is sad to confirm that ale production at the Wickwar brewing site has ceased with immediate effect.

"The good news is that Wickwar’s favourite ales will continue to be available, as Wickwar Wessex Pub Company has acquired the Wickwar and Moles ale brands from the brewing company.

"These popular brands will continue to be faithfully reproduced to their original recipes by long-standing contract brewing partners, who have been working with the brewery for over ten years while producing a selection of Wickwar bottled ales.

"Whilst the pandemic has undoubtedly brought difficulties and pressures to the hospitality sector...Wickwar Wessex Pub Company are delighted they will be able to maintain availability of the Wickwar ale range and look forward to serving the South West for many more years to come."

Picture: The 160-year-old Wickwar Brewerybuilding. Photo courtesy of Wickwar Wessex Pub Company.