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UK: Carlsberg to close UK brewery

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Falling beer sales in the UK have prompted Carlsberg to announce a brewery closure in the country, with the loss of 170 jobs.

Carlsberg UK said today (5 November) that it would close its brewery in Leeds, northern England, by 2011.

The announcement came as Carlsberg UK's parent group in Denmark cut full-year earnings and sales forecasts for 2008, due to tough beer markets in Western Europe, Baltic countries and, on a volume basis, Russia.

"Carlsberg UK needs to maximise efficiency in order to remain competitive in the face of increasingly challenging market conditions resulting from falling consumption, higher duties, input inflation and regulatory pressure."

The brewer said in its third quarter results that, throughout Northern and Western Europe, "United Kingdom was the only market in the third quarter with net revenues below last year".

Carlsberg UK said that it could no longer justify running two major breweries in the UK. The move comes two weeks after the brewer announced the departure of UK CEO Doug Clydesdale. He has been replaced by Isaac Sheps, aged 59 and currently CEO of Carlsberg South East Europe. 

Beer sales in the UK sank 7.2% in the third quarter, continuing the slide from a 4% drop in the same quarter of 2007, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said last week.

Sales are at their lowest level since the 1930s, with an average of five pubs closing every day, according to BBPA figures.


Sectors: Beer & cider

Companies: Carlsberg

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