29 June 2023

Carlsberg UK venture to sell Ringwood Brewery

United Kingdom | The asset sell-off continues at Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (CMBC). The latest brewery to be put on the market is the small Ringwood Brewery in southern England, which produces mainly cask ales. CMBC said on 7 June, that by disposing of Ringwood it seeks to simplify its business.

Ringwood was founded in 1978, and, after outgrowing its original premises, moved to the current site in 1986. In 2007, it was bought by Marston’s, Carlsberg’s joint venture partner, for GBP 19.2 million (then USD 39 million).

The hog is the logo for the brewery and greets everyone visiting the brewery shop in the background.
(Photo: Clive Perrin / The Hampshire Hog Ringwood Brewery, Ringwood Hampshire, CC BY-SA 2.0,
The Hampshire Hog Ringwood Brewery Ringwood Hampshire - geograph.org.uk - 213781.jpg)


Eight staff work at the brewery, with five others in a shop on the site. A further 20 are employed in logistics. CMBC declined to comment on the potential impact any sale could have on jobs.

It is called consolidation

Ringwood is the latest asset to be shed, since the CMBC joint venture was formed through the merger of brewers Carlsberg UK and Marston’s in 2020.

At the time, Carlsberg owned just two breweries – one in Northampton and a microbrewery in London (London Fields) – whereas Marston's had six national and regional breweries: Marston's, Banks's, Wychwood, Jennings, Ringwood, and Eagle. In other words, CMBC owned far too many breweries.

One after the other

The first to go was the Jennings brewery in Cockermouth, north-east England. In September last year, the brewery, with an estimated annual capacity of 90,000 hl beer, was closed down and production shifted to CMBC’s Marston’s Brewery in Burton. Jennings Brewery was established in 1828 and had been situated in Cockermouth since 1874. It was acquired by Marston’s in 2005 but had seen “a significant decline in volumes” since the pandemic, according to CMBC.

In November 2022, CMBC struck a deal to sell its macro brewery, the Eagle Brewery in Bedford, to its long-term partner, the Spanish brewer Damm, for an undisclosed sum. The sale included a contract brewing arrangement for several of CMBC’s brands.

Finally, in May this year, CMBC managed to sell its London Fields microbrewery and taproom to the pub and bar operator, Grace Land Group, again for an undisclosed sum. The Hackney craft brewing outfit was acquired by Carlsberg in 2017 and put on the market in 2021. Grace Land intends to use the site to launch its own Saint Monday beer brand.

Grace Land Group runs six pubs across London. One of its two directors is Andreas Akerlund, who was an early-stage investor in Camden Town Brewery, which was sold to AB-InBev in 2015, according to media reports.

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