PRODUCTION of the world-famous Newcastle Brown Ale is moving to North Yorkshire, but 12 other brewing jobs are to go in a bittersweet day for Tadcaster.

Brewer Scottish & Newcastle announced yesterday it is to close its Dunston brewery in Gateshead and move production of the iconic Brown Ale to the John Smith’s plant in Tadcaster.

The move will lead to the loss of 63 jobs in the north- east, but no additional ones in Tadcaster.

At the same time, Scottish & Newcastle revealed it was closing one of its “kegging’ lines in Tadcaster next spring, with the loss of 12 jobs, although the firm said it was also intending to bring a bottling operation back “in-house” at the end of 2010, which would lead to the creation of new roles.

There was dismay in the north- east at yesterday’s announcement, which sees Newcastle lose one of its most iconic brands.

Paul Hoffman, S&N’s operations director, said: “Clearly this is a sad day, but the proposal to close Dunston is not a decision we have taken lightly. Nor is it a reflection on the employees at the site who have done an excellent job over the last few years in a very challenging market.

“Falling beer sales have created general overcapacity in the UK brewing sector and rising input costs have put unprecedented pressure on our business.

“The proposals we are announcing today are designed to address these challenges and to ensure that we remain competitive in the future.”

Both Dunston’s and Tadcaster’s breweries were operating below capacity, and a spokesman for the brewers said the restructure would increase the importance of the Tadcaster site within the company.

Newcastle Brown Ale first went on sale in 1927 and was brewed in central Newcastle until 2005, before moving to Gateshead.

The day after its launch, it was said local police appealed to the brewery to make the beer weaker because the cells were full of drunks.

The ale was also dubbed “dog” by drinkers, as they would make the excuse of going to “walk the dog” when nipping to the pub.