Heineken has vowed to continue to promote Yorkshire ales if its £403m deal to buy Punch Taverns gets the go ahead from the competition authorities, amid concerns that its takeover could limit the number of Yorkshire beers on sale in its pubs.
Colin Valentine, the national chairman of Camra (Campaign for Real Ale) said: "Camra is seriously concerned about what effect Heineken’s proposed takeover of Punch Taverns would have on pub-goers and beer drinkers.
"Yorkshire pubs should offer a diverse range of good quality beer and should be diverse enough to serve their respective communities. Any attempt to monopolise the industries goes against the spirit of the great Yorkshire pub and undermines the ‘local’ in a great local.
”In addition, we are currently seeing 21 pubs closing every week. With 1,900 pubs about to be sold this will bring huge uncertainty to the industry and to the Yorkshire community alike.”
But Heineken said that around 15 per cent of the brands it sells in each of its existing pubs are not owned by Heineken.
A Heineken spokesman said: “If any Punch pubs in Yorkshire were to join our Star Pubs & Bars business, we would welcome them with open arms.
"We have a great track record of investing in pubs, and we would continue this strategy - working closely with great operators to create even better venues. We also recognise that offering a range of traditional cask or craft ales is important to any pub - and even for tied pubs there is scope to do this.
"As far as local Punch pubs are concerned, if our purchase was successful, we would sit down with each licensee and agree the best stock to suit the pub and area. "Furthermore, we already have great Yorkshire ales in our portfolio, including John Smith’s and Theakstons.”
Last week Punch agreed to carve up its pub estate as part of a takeover by Heineken and private equity firm Patron Capital.
The deal will see the Dutch beer giant snap up 1,895 pubs and Patron will take on 1,329.
The duo successfully fought off a rival bid from the pub chain's co-founder Alan McIntosh with a 180p per share offer for the firm.
Punch said the deal has the blessing of its top three shareholders, representing 52.3 per cent of the firm, and the company's directors intend to recommend that investors vote in favour of the deal.
However the deal will have to get past the competition authorities first.