The closure of UK regional brewer and pub operator Gales is "good news" for the future of its brands and estate, according to new owner Fuller, Smith & Turner.

John Roberts, beer and brands director at Fuller's, said the closure and subsequent brewing of the Gales portfolio at Fuller's site in west London would ensure the quality of the brands would be "improved and more consistent".

He added that Gales' 111-strong pub estate would also be maintained as Fuller's looked to double its retail portfolio across the south of England.

"We're taking the Gales brands, making them more consistent, taking them to a higher quality standard than ever before and making them available in a larger number of pubs," Roberts told just-drinks today (28 February).

"We're keeping the pubs branded as Gales pubs, where we will also sell a selection of Fuller's brands. From a drinker's point of view, it's the best of both worlds."

Fuller's announced yesterday the closure of the 159-year-old Gales brewery with the loss of 21 jobs. Roberts said the cost of getting the Gales site in Horndean, Hampshire, up to standard would have been "prohibitive".

"We were not going to invest in upgrading a smaller brewery when we have the capacity here in Chiswick (west London). We have a very, very good high-quality brewery here that can easily accommodate the capacity at Gales."

UK pressure group The Campaign for Real Ale said it was "appalled" at Fuller's decision, arguing that the company had ignored the "overwhelming" public support to keep the Gales brewery open.

"Fullers justified the closure by saying it expects to make savings of around GBP3m. This is a small amount to gain in return for destroying a century and a half of Hampshire's heritage and dealing a blow to all fans of Gales beers," said CAMRA chief excutive Mike Benner.

Roberts said Fuller's was "very disappointed" by CAMRA's stance.

"It's sad that Fuller's, which has worked hard for decades to support the cask ale industry, has been set out to be the bad guys in this."

He added that the industry "needed to work together" to revive cask ale sales in the UK and lure consumers, especially younger drinkers, away from lager.