PRODUCTION of the Black Country's famous Peaky Blinder beer is to move to Cumbria following confirmation that Sadler's brewery in Lye is to close.

Merseyside based Halewood Wines & Spirits has confirmed the Sadler's Brewhouse and Bar on the Conyers Estate in Lye will close and production of its popular range of ales is transferring to Hawkshead Brewery in Cumbria.

Staff were told the sad news yesterday (Monday January 20) bosses at Halewood said and a spokesman added: "After thorough consultation and extensive review, a decision has been made to close the Sadler’s brewery site at Lye in the West Midlands.

“We can confirm that four employees are transferring to other roles within the group, with others currently being considered for potential vacancies."

A total of 26 staff are believed to be affected by the closure which comes two years after drinks giant Halewood - the UK's largest drinks manufacturer and distributor - took on a majority share of Sadler's Brewing Co.

Halewood's spokesman said "Sadler's beer will continue to be produced - with production transferring to Hawkshead Brewery in Cumbria" which is around 180 miles away.

The brewhouse and bar, located next to Lye Railway Station, was opened by TV newscaster Eamon Holmes in 2015 and it became a firm favourite for music and comedy nights, Peaky Blinder themed events and its growing range of ales.

The original Sadler’s brewery was founded in 1861 by Benjamin Sadler and later expanded by Nathaniel Sadler in 1900.

It was later inherited by Nathaniel's son, Thomas, who ran the brewery for a number of years, where he also raised his son John (known as Jack) who was brought up in the brewhouse.

Jack later passed on his passion and knowledge of brewing to his son and grandson John and Chris Sadler.

Under the direction of fifth generation brewer Chris Sadler - Sadler's has become a thriving craft brewery, supplying bars, restaurants and shops across the country with its award-winning beers - the most famous of which has been its Peaky Blinder range inspired by the hit Black Country made TV show.

Halewood previously told the News the proposal to close the Lye site was linked to plans to develop the Sadler's Peaky Blinder Irish whiskey, which is currently distilled in Ireland by another company.

A spokesman for Halewood said the company wanted to "accelerate a project to distil our own Irish whiskey" by moving production equipment at Lye to a facility in the Republic of Ireland.

The Sadler's Taproom at Quinton and the Brewers Social at Harborne are not affected by the closure and will continue trading.

A spokesman for the Stourbridge and Halesowen branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) described the closure of Sadler's Lye based brewery as "yet another example of a multi-national company riding roughshod over local traditions and history, milking the Peaky Blinder brand and stripping the company's assets".

The branch's brewery liaison officer, Steve Pratt, said: “This is a devastating blow, not only for the hard-working employees at the Brewhouse and taproom at Lye, but also for the traditions and history of local brewing in the Black Country.

"Sadler’s has become a thriving local brewery, supplying bars, restaurants and shops across the country, particularly with the iconic Peaky Blinder IPA and Black IPA beers.

"This decision will rip the heart and soul out of Peaky Blinder beers whose spiritual home is in the Black Country.

"Our thoughts go out to all the wonderful staff affected.

"The only saving grace is that Emily Sadler has re-started brewing at the Windsor Castle pub at the new Printworks Brewery, continuing the traditions of the Sadler family.”