Carlsberg is to expand lager production at its UK brewery in Northampton following a plan to close its brewery in Leeds.

Carlsberg will increase capacity at the Northampton brewery from 4.5m hectolitres to 6m per year, the Denmark-based global brewer said today (2 December). Work is to begin in mid-2010.

Northampton is set to become the group's UK brewing hub once the Tetley brewery in Leeds is closed in 2011.

"The investment shows a significant commitment from the Carlsberg Group to Carlsberg UK, and will play a key role in ensuring we remain a strong and sustainable player in a challenging UK market," said Carlsberg UK CEO Isaac Sheps.

Senior vice president of Carlsberg group supply chain, Kasper Madsen, said: "The move forms part of the Carlsberg Group supply chain strategy for Northern & Western Europe built around concentrating production at fewer sites to optimise our supply chain structure.

He added: "Once the development has been completed we are confident that the Northampton Brewery will be one of the most efficient breweries in the world."

Carlsberg reiterated today that it "remains committed" to brewing Tetley's bitter in the UK and would prefer to find a partner in the brand's home county of Yorkshire.