S&N bites the dust
But when Allied was broken up and Bass and Whitbread left brewing in 2000, the way was open for S&N to become Britain's biggest brewer. But its fortunes declined instead of flourishing. It went on a rampage of brewery closures, axeing the historic George's Brewery in Bristol, Fountainbridge in Edinburgh, Courage in London, and the Newcastle Brewery. It had won a prestigious guarantee of origin for Newcastle Brown Ale from the European Union but lost it when it moved production to the former Federation Clubs Brewery in Gateshead. It announced it would close the former Courage Reading brewery in 2010.
Last year S&N was taken over by Heineken and many thought it was only a matter of time before the named changed. Heineken is left with the giant Royal brewery in Manchester, Gateshead and John Smith's in Tadcaster. It also owns the Caledonian brewery in Edinburgh that produces the award-winning cask beer Deuchar's IPA. Cynics say Caledonian will survive as long as Heineken thinks Deuchar's is lager, not ale.
The company name will change officially on 23 November.
*The Big 4 British brewers are now all foreign-owned: AB InBev, Carlsberg (which will close Tetley next year), Coors and Heineken.