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Exclusive - Molson Coors takes bottled Doom Bar brewing out of Cornwall

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Molson Coors has confirmed to just-drinks that it has shifted the brewing of the bottled edition of Cornish beer Doom Bar to its central UK brewery in Burton.

Sharps owner Molson Coors moved brewing to Burton to cope with demand

Sharp's owner Molson Coors moved brewing to Burton to cope with demand

The news follows the revelation that Doom Bar is now the number one bottled beer in the UK off-trade, in value terms, according to Nielsen figures. Molson Coors purchased Doom Bar producer Sharp’s Brewery in 2011, with the brewer's UK & Ireland CEO Mark Hunter saying at the time: "We respect and want to preserve the unique culture of Sharp’s Brewery."

The rest of the brand's output, including cask, continues to be brewed in Cornwall.

Speaking exclusively to just-drinks today, newly-appointed UK & Ireland marketing director Martin Coyle said the beer has actually been brewed in Burton for two years because "there’s no space for a bottling line" in Cornwall. He said: "We’ve made the site [in Cornwall] pretty much as big as it can be now."

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"We continue to brew as much Doom Bar as we can down in Cornwall and continue to work that brewery to its capacity... but where we need more capacity, then in this particular instance, Burton has been the perfect home."

Coyle said Doom Bar is the only Sharp’s beer produced at Burton but the company has another, small brewery in Burtonwood, which it purchased earlier this year. Bottled brands such as Sharp’s Atlantic and Wolf Rock are future considerations for brewing at Burtonwood, as they become larger, he added.

"Sometimes, there can be a bit of emotion around these decisions… in terms of ‘is it the right thing to do’ but the team made the call and it’s really in the spirit of what’s going on in craft anyway... it’s full of collaboration. As long as we’re staying true to what Sharp’s is and the brewing philosophy and the ingredients… then I feel comfortable with it."

Doom Bar has been bottled outside of Sharp’s site in Cornwall since 2002, but the production and bottling has been taking place outside of Cornwall since 2013.

On the craft debate, Coyle said he was not sure what the benefit was in trying the define the term, because there are so many definitions and debates. "The best things about craft are the amount of innovation... and choice." But he added: "The watch-out is that for every good one, you get a bad one and the role that my business can play is to help with that bit around consistency."

Coyle described the relationship between small and large brewers as "the most exciting thing to happen to beer in decades". He added: "I do think the more that we can help small business and the more supportive they can be around what big brewers can bring, that’s when you’ve got the best of both worlds. If one side criticises the other, then, what I think is the most exciting thing to happen in beer for decades is just going to crumble away."

Coyle was formerly director of Ireland, Scotland & craft at Molson Coors and he continues to be responsible for craft in his new role.


Sectors: Beer & cider

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