Ventnor Brewery Closes

Shocking news. Ventnor Brewery has, as of today, gone out of business.

We spoke to them this evening to confirm the sad news, following Steephill Jack posting it on the VentnorBlog forum.

Ventnor Brewery ClosesThe winter months are always quieter for trade and the Brewery just needed a little help from the bank to tide them over until the trade picked up in the spring months.

The team told VB that the Brewery went to the bank, but the bank wouldn’t help them – resulting in the Brewery having to close its doors.

All of our thoughts – and we’re sure those of Ventnor and the whole of the Island – go to the all of those who worked at the Brewery.

Sad news indeed.

Image: Patrick Eden

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Wednesday, 11th March, 2009 7:43pm



Filed under: Business, Ventnor

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. I’m so sorry to hear this news! They were such a wonderful brewery. :(
    Sad news indeed. I wish the people at the brewery the best for their futures.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear this news too!it is so upsetting! i will miss the Christmas fair. Also where is the comic jazz band going to go at Christmas after they has finished there parade?

  3. Horrible, horrible news.

  4. Wow, what a blow. Would love to know which bank it was and hope to god they’re not local.

    Off to have my last pint of golden – hope I can find some in Ventnor. A sad sad day. Condolences to all at the brewery, maybe a rich beer fan will come to the rescue.

  5. very sad – alas, the uk banking system seems to be in total disarray and many businesses, like the brewery, are being let down.

    The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling on banks to restore decision-making powers to local branches and is launching a code of good practice for banks to follow and to support more lending to small firms…

  6. That’s truly sad news. Some of my all-time favourite beers, and such a lovely place and people.

  7. When are YOU going to wake up Those of you that get real news, will KNOW this is intentional . BANK BAILOUTS are nothing but the biggest FRAUD in history. SMELL THE COFFEE

  8. Brian Lucas

    12.Mar.2009 7:34am

    I am in deep shock. Is there a rescue plan?

  9. Helen Cunningham

    12.Mar.2009 8:16am

    This is devastating news for Ventnor, what a HUGE shame. Agree with Sarge – name and shame the bank.
    Like Brian Lucas I hope there is a rescue plan. If not already approached for advice I 100% recommend getting in touch with the IOW Chamber of Commerce, they do support local businesses with good advice.
    Good luck Guys.

  10. Jackie Milne

    12.Mar.2009 8:32am

    We run a bar and restaurant in Ventnor and have been proud to bost that Ventnor has 2 independent brewers being (Dave) Yates(who’s beers we are able to purcahse) and Ventnor Brewery. All pubs and of course breweries are in danger and there is currently a campaign nationwide to “Axe the Beer tax” which you can PLEASE join on line. As to the situation with Ventnor Brewery it is impossible to speculate on the actual circumstances surrounding it’s current demise, however, there have been instances where village stores have been literally rescued by the local community by a large number of residents each investing relatively small amounts of money. There may be other options.

  11. Gillian Jenner

    12.Mar.2009 9:16am

    What a terrible shame for the Brewery and for Ventnor. Good luck to everyone at the Brewery.

  12. @sven I’m sure EVERYONE is well aware that the banking crisis is worldwide, we’re not living in a bubble here just showing our support for a much loved Ventnor business.

    Don’t worry, I’ll be first in line when the bankers are lined up against a wall waiting for the firing squad.

  13. I can’t believe what I am reading – Ventnor Brewery has struggled for years and worked their little cotton socks off to bring quality goods to the bars of the UK. Shame on the banks – why are we (or rather the government) wasting taxpayers money to bail them out when they do naff all for the people who deserve the banks backing.
    Hopre Xavier, Irwin and the rest of the crew manage to fulfill another dream. Cheers guys – love you! x

  14. The banks don’t seem to know any shame. What a disgrace they are. Good luck to all of you who relied on the brewery for a livelihood. I hope there is the chance of a rescue plan.

  15. Its a huge shame for all involved the Island in general and Beer lovers across the world.

    However, I think its worth just reminding everyone that if a business is not profitable (maddeningly with the exception of banks) it has no right to a bailout / lending. Naming and shaming the bank who would have followed rules is a ridiculous thing to do. Remember, irresponsible lending got us into this mess in the first place.

    If the business is viable and its just a seasonal cash issue, I hope they find a business angel, wealthy Beer lover or VC, thats if its not too late.

    …now off to find a few bottles of Wight Spirit.

  16. What a great shame. Some of the best beer around.
    Thoughts go out to those employees involved. Lets hope something can be recovered from this……

  17. Simon Kinsey

    12.Mar.2009 3:32pm

    Damn, this is SAD news, they had been running for so long as well. Some of my favourite beers were VB ones………

  18. Freddie Morris (ex Wroxall)

    13.Mar.2009 8:41am

    Very sad news indeed. Hopefully somebody will manage to rescue the brewery and equipment to re-start again. Over 169 years down the drain.

  19. What a shocking piece of news. As ex-landlord of the Volly I purchased (and consumed) vast quantities of Ventnor Golden Ale. I hope that a way might be found to save the brewery. Perhaps a community owned project?

  20. Jeane & Tony Minx

    13.Mar.2009 9:23am

    This is dreadful and a fine example of the Banks’ crass attitude to business and private lending. It would appear to be OK for them to continue to pay obscene amounts of money to failed bosses and reckless staff whilst crucifying businesses. ALL this with tax payers’ money!! Thanks a lot Westminster!!

    • Dave Moores

      8.Jun.2009 5:03pm

      Hi there. Is this the Tony Minx that used to work for 3M? Cheers, Dave

      • Tony Minx

        10.Jun.2009 8:18am

        Yes – the very same! Living in Ventnor and still playing guitar and harmonica! Look out for The Hillmans (Blues & Rock) with me,Dick Taylor (ex Rolling Stones and still in The Pretty Things)and Mike Huddart (Ace of the Bass). Also, look out for The Hooleys with Larry O’Toole, me and Mike doing the Irish stuff. We are at The Mill Bay this Saturday.
        Stil playing Dave?

  21. @Tim Saul – The Brewery as a community owned project. What an interesting idea.

  22. Steephill Jack

    13.Mar.2009 11:12am

    The CP today (p.7)reports that £114,000 is needed to pay all the Brewery debts, so that’s what ‘the community’ would need to raise. Maybe there are 114 folk who would put up a £1,000 interest-free loan for a year ?

  23. “a little help from the bank”

    Those would be the guys who lend you an umbrella when it’s dry, and ask for it back when it starts to rain. Anyone would think they didn’t charge interest! Or were they worried that people would stop drinking beer? Bankers.

  24. “irresponsible lending got us into this mess in the first place”

    Mostly, as I recall, to other banks! Tarring small (and apparently successful) businesses with the same brush is unfair. The authors of our current misfortune are the devisors of scams, such as the consolidation of unknown assets, short selling and Ponzi schemes, who knew that they could outwit the regulators, who had been repeatedly told by successive chancellors not to interfere. Ha!

  25. It might be interesting for those vexed about the behavior of banks to withdraw their current account funds and place them in a bank that hasn’t gambled for their own gain with our money.

    The Co-op bank has been pretty responsible hasn’t it?

  26. Brian Lucas

    13.Mar.2009 3:27pm

    Whilst not taking my mind off the loss of our super brewery, yes, I recommend the Co-Op Bank. Not sexy or gimmiky, but ethical

  27. holiday maker

    13.Mar.2009 3:49pm

    I had a coop endowment “with profits” what a con! ….. mutual or not, All banks are there for pure profits first and customers are cannon fodder. Name the bank and shame the bank!and then publicise them, they dont like bad PR on a local level…..

  28. @Benjamin Dyer – banks following rules?
    LOL – Martin Lewis might disagree with you on that one. I’ve been self employed for 30 years so have a bit of a dim view of ’em. I still fume at once being charged £135 by Barclays for ‘management time’ when they’d invited me in for a ‘get to know your new business manager’ meeting. I kid you not. – guess what tho – it was in their ‘rules’ ….apologies for going off subject

  29. Blooming sad news – never had a better beer than Golden Bitter or it’s bottled equivalent, Admirals Ale.

    I hope that Xavier and co. didn’t have any personal guarantees to the bank and that they can buy the assets back from the receiver/administrator and start again.

    I can’t understand how such an excellent product wasn’t profitable.Perhaps thay were good at making beer but not at running a business?, or beer drinkers have such undiscriminating taste they don’t drink the best?

    If Xavier wants a drop (excuse the pun) of free management consultancy I would be happy to go over the numbers.Contact me via the blog

  30. They sell Ventnor Brewry beer at Tesco…why not approach them for the cash in leiu of a years supply they would have bought anyway.

    Boost Tescos claim of supporting local business, they get local support and brewery stays open.

    Then approach Co-Op to sell your beer as well (they currently sell Goddards)

  31. Totally gutted. Me and Mrs Minty often enjoy a little tipple at weekends. Golden Bitter is our favourite; it always hits the spot. Just off to Tesco to get stocked up. Hope there is some left!

  32. idea for emulation?

    The Bread and Roses is run by the Battersea and Wandsworth Trades Union council which is a group of dedicated, mostly unpaid volunteers, who support local and international workers’ right campaigns from Wimbledon to Haiti…

  33. holiday maker

    16.Mar.2009 4:49pm

    Cheap “Bargain Booze” and supermarkets cheap prices combined with non smoking pubs etc etc have and/are killing the licencing trade pub by pub and this is there market! Unfortunately it looks like more flats for Ventnor…

  34. Mike Hammersley

    16.Mar.2009 5:24pm

    This is shocking news. While bankers like Fred the Shred can luxuriate on his obscene pension, local hard-working and resourceful guys like Xavier are denied the opportunity to continue trading because of the reckless behaviour of our banking system. As Sven quite rightly points out (above) this implosion of the global financial system is a deliberate policy to destroy economies worldwide, so that a new centrally-controlled global banking system can be introduced.

    Only the Rothschilds, Rockefellers and their cronies benefit, while we’re left holding the begging bowl!

    I sincerely hope that some solution can be found and that their excellent beers will once again be enjoyed by us all!

  35. Terry Jeffries

    16.Mar.2009 9:11pm

    Really bad news, usual banks running for cover and screwing everyone else. It is virtually impossible to get help these days – the Government announced all these schemes to help small businesses, but they rely on the BANKS co-operating in the first place!
    Back on the subject – great shame,best wishes to all at the brewery. If a scheme to rescue is started – please publicise it!

  36. sorry to hear this.

  37. I would love to buy this brewery – and have the money to do so. Sadly I would have to resite it on the mainland, but this offer might help the owners?

  38. I’m really stunned by this horrible news. Ventnor Brewery, the staff and their beers are part of what makes Ventnor such a great place. They deserve to survive and thrive.
    I’m with Brian Lucas, Jackie Milne, BigEars, Tim Saul, Simon, Steephill Jack, Mike Hammersley, Terry Jeffries and anybody else I’ve missed while reading the comments – let’s hope there can be a community rescue plan.
    I’ve been made redundant and am now officially unemployed but I’d still love to help even if it’s only with a few quid. If lots of us join in we could do it.
    Fordhall Farm ( who were featured on the recent film ‘A Farm for the Future’ ( managed to raise enough money to survive – see
    Another option might be the Ecology Building Society ( who help sustainable buildings and businesses, including ‘small-scale and ecological enterprises’.
    Best of luck to everybody at Ventnor Brewery whatever happens.

  39. Mark & Shuba

    18.Mar.2009 10:39pm

    We are so sorry to hear of this closure. We know how hard you worked and how unique the beers were.

    In 2004, we were so proud to be one of the few hotels to stock your beers and we were quite amazed that people and businesses were not flocking to buy them. The quality was quite simply excellent.

    Organic Hygiea was our all time favourite and we know that quite a few of our guests bought crates of these to take home.

    We are very sad at this loss.

  40. Andrew Fishleigh

    19.Mar.2009 9:59am

    A Ventnor institution which will be sorely missed.

    I do hope that you can rise again from the ashes Xavier, Irwin and all.

  41. caroline and barry

    24.Mar.2009 6:09pm

    Dear Xavier and Colin and others

    So sorry to hear the sad news you are closing. From our 1st meeting, we have found you all very friendly, helpful and accomodating. We will miss you guys. Good luck for the future. Hope there is a last minute reprieve. Will miss the golden, and Barry will certainly miss helping out.

  42. Mark Finding

    27.Mar.2009 10:17pm

    I have been visiting the Island and the town of Ventnor for the last 2 decades, at least once a year. My family and I have looked forward to relaxing with one of the many fine ales produced by the Ventnor Brewing Company. As one of the few brewing houses on the Island it would appear deplorable that this fine and local industry is no longer financially viable according to the UK banking system. This is shameful, we pay the price yet again….SHAME ON THEM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. Coming to the Island will not be the same without Golden……and have just drunk my last bottle of Admiral. Have also enjoyed such beers as Pistol Night in the past delivered to the Midlands.

    Will be down in June and will have a drink to all at VB.

    Hope the banks can live with themselves. Glad I no longer work for one.

  44. Alan from Warwickshire

    27.Apr.2009 10:05pm

    It was a great shock to hear of the closure of my favourite brewery. Although I live near Stratford on Avon I come to the Island at least 4 times a year, and always went to see Zavier and the team to collect enough beer to last till the next trip down.
    The Golden Bitter and the Admirals ale along with the Wight Spirit were my favourites.

    Zavier, all I can do is wish you all the best for the future and thank you for being a good friend over the years.


  45. st boniface is the patron saint of brewers.

    not many people know that:)

  46. The bank in question should be named and shamed. A long established, community centric business has been allowed to fail. Whilst we hear that the bailout was essential and they are (apparently) lending again. To be honest I cannot see any beneficiaries of the bank bailout apart from the bank employees who can hang onto their jobs.

    A shame really, since I never managed to taste the beer, am coming over to the IoW next week and had been reading good reviews of the brewery on other websites.

  47. glenn from australia

    8.Jul.2009 2:09am

    I met xavier and the boys in Singapore last year when they were promoting their beer there and trying to boost their sales globally and do their best entreprenuarially,I was impressed by theri spirit.
    I would suggest this to an area that needs this type business and tourism.
    That you set up a unit trust with the administrator (providining this what the directors would like)and float the company.
    I suggest you involve the local to buy a portion as well as well as the mayor and the local tourism austhrority and for gods sake put these boys back at the helm!!

    all the best to you all

    you have my email if ever I can be of assistance drop me a line

    glenn the aussie

  48. “as well as the mayor”

    Sounds like a (Ventnor) Golden opportunity! Just think of it as a larger than usual round, Chris… :-)

  49. Doug Methven

    15.Jul.2009 9:32pm

    Just to say that what a shame it is to loose so many distictive brews that I have relished over the years, especially the Sandrock Smoked Ale and the Oyster Stout. I always looked forward on my visits to the ‘Island’ to buy a box of beers from the brewery to take back to Stafford with me.
    When I think back to when Burts closed and the ‘Brewery’ looked so forlorn many years ago, we are returning to that unhappy situation again. What will that apparition of the head brewer think as he haunts the empty buildings once again?
    All we can hope for is the Pheonix to rise once again from the ashes, hopefully I’m not being too optimistic. As for the staff, you have my sympathies.

  50. Scott Newman

    1.Aug.2009 5:53pm

    @Peter(17th March)…Great plan but unfortunately one set back…the beer is made from a constant running natural spring that the brewery only has to pay a minimal fee to use. I’m sure the connoisseurs of Ale would notice a distinct change in the taste of their favourite tipple.
    Have you had any other feed-back?

  51. I have just poured my first bottle of their beer, Oyster stout. This makes me sad and I hope they can resume operations some day. The last time I was on the Island I was too young to drink and now I review beers. The Oyster stout is pretty interesting and I was hoping to try more of their beers.

    • This is really sad news. I have spent many happy holidays on the Isle of Wight and always looked forward to a pint of Ventnor Gold in the Spyglass Inn. The Oyster Ale was delicious too.

  52. It is indeed sad news. I believe it’s on the same site as the old Burts brewery which went bust in the late 1980’s I think. So it’s the second time I’ve lost a favourite beer. I must drink more beer in future rather than risk any more breweries going bust.

  53. I did like their beer, I used to divert through Godshill some weeks to pick up bottles. Their products were often hard to get hold of though, when I was staying on the mainland I enquired with them about getting some sent over, but couldn’t get a response. They were good at the brewing but maybe a bit weak on the distribution. Still got Yates and Goddards though.

  54. dan spacie

    17.Aug.2009 10:38am

    Anyone have contact details for xavier.. i need to hire a good brewer !!

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