A MAN leading a group of private investors hoping to save Ringwood Brewery has slammed its owners following news that it's set to close.

Carlsberg Marston's Brewing Company (CMBC) announced on Monday, December 4, that it would be closing the longstanding Hampshire brewery in January 2024 and moving the production of its ales elsewhere.

This came after the company was unable to find a buyer for the Ringwood site and brand since putting it up for sale in June 2023, just over three years after corporate giant Carlsberg merged with Marston's.

Anthony Swift, a former city corporate finance advisor, created a consortium of private investors in a bid to save Ringwood Brewery following the announcement in June.

But he has now met the "catastrophic" closure announcement with condemnation for Carlsberg Marston.

“There has been no support for the brands (when did you last see a Ringwood Brewery beer glass or a beer mat in a pub?). Local sponsorships of great events like the New Forest Show, the Ellingham Show and the Great Dorset Steam Fair have been cancelled.

"Employment on the site has plummeted as operations have been corporately centralised and production of the bottled beers has been relocated to Burton-on-Trent, and the much loved and popular brewery tours have been cancelled," he said.

Salisbury Journal: CMBC has been trying to sell the brewery since June 2023.CMBC has been trying to sell the brewery since June 2023. (Image: Newsquest)

A spokesperson for CMBC said: “As you would expect, we conducted a formal and rigorous bidding process to ensure fairness and transparency. Over the past six months, despite our best efforts, we were unable to secure a credible offer which met our bidding threshold, and had to conclude that there was no viable path forward for Ringwood.

"The prolonged uncertainty surrounding the site has significantly affected our Ringwood Brewery team colleagues. It was a not a decision we took lightly, but the wellbeing of our team was paramount. Continuing the bid process under such circumstances would not have been responsible.”

Mr Swift claimed the news of closure "speaks volumes about the state of corporate Britain in the 2020s", adding: "Just 10 years ago, Ringwood Brewery was operating at capacity, producing about 42,000 barrels of beer a year. Since then, it has lost 75% of its production and its soul."

The consortium planned to revive the brewery as an independent brewer of local craft and seasonal ales, actively sponsor local events and restore employment from the current 14 people on-site to around 35.

Instead, the sales process involving a London firm of estate agents was "abandoned" resulting in a "tragedy" for pub customers and consumers, according to Mr Swift.

"The town of Ringwood looks set to lose a stack of jobs, a great visitor attraction and a flagship local employer. I very much hope it's not too late for this decision to be reversed," he added.

CMBC CEO Paul Davies previously said the decision to close was a "difficult" one and blamed the brewery's limited space and residential location as reasons for the closure, adding: "The expansion and improvements required for the site to be competitive would be challenging and extremely costly."