A POPULAR award-winning brewery has announced it has gone into administration after 16 years in business.
Oakleaf Brewery has produced several award-winning ales but has announced it can no longer continue to trade.
A statement on Oakleaf’s Facebook page said: ‘It is with great sadness and regret that we must announce that The Oakleaf Brewing Co. Ltd. has gone into administration.
‘We will remain trading for as long as possible or until a buyer is found. Thank you to all our staff and customers for their loyal support and hard work over the last 16 years.
‘Thank you to everyone who has supported us over the years. We gave it our very best shot to keep things going as long as we could.
‘It has been an amazing sixteen years and we have many superb memories. We hope to raise a glass (or more) with you all in the very near future.’
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage campaigned to get the beer in the House of Commons bar a few years ago and was sad to hear the news.
Ms Dinenage said: ‘It’s sad that the brewery has announced the news as it was Gosport’s own little microbrewery we were very proud to have in our town.
‘Nobody has been in touch and it was completely unexpected.
‘We know it can be tough for small businesses, especially in competitive markets, as they need to have a very high attraction rate.’
Councillor Mark Hook, leader of Gosport Borough Council, added: ‘It’s really disappointing to hear as it is a popular local beer.
‘They sell a number of really nice products and hopefully a buyer is found.
‘I’ve known the family of the company for quite some time and it is a great shame because they’ve put a lot of time and effort into making an excellent product.’
The Gosport-based business has claimed many prizes during its time. In 2011, its I Can’t Believe It’s Not Bitter product was crowned champion by leading ale group CAMRA in the Speciality Beer Class and they’ve also scooped scores of other prestigious awards over the years.
Oakleaf’s beers can be purchased in many pubs across the area and it reopened The Florist pub, in Fratton, last year as they hoped to rejuvenate the historic drinking den. Doing so, they became the only brewery in the area to operate a pub.
It also ran the Brewpot shop and bar in Cross Street, Gosport.
Deric Payne, chairman of the CAMRA South Hampshire branch, said: ‘It is unfortunate but it is just one of those things.
‘With so many micro breweries cropping up, there has to be some casualties.
‘Oakleaf do sell a lot of nice beers but breweries now have to keep up and change the brew that they sell.
‘With so many micro pubs opening up, they start wanting products that are pushing the boat out and companies have to meet the needs of these places.
‘I’m sure Oakleaf will not be the only traditional brewery to go into administration.’