DEVASTATION has been voiced at the closure of a brewery – a victim of the pandemic.

Naylor's has shut after two decades in business.

Brothers Stephen and Robert Naylor, who founded the popular brewery, said the firm had not been eligible for the levels of financial support many others had received during the past year-and-a-half and was "no longer viable".

The siblings began brewing at the Old White Bear in Cross Hills, a pub they owned at the time, in 2001 before moving to Midland Mills in the village five years later.

In a statement, the brothers said: "What was a thriving business has unfortunately not been eligible for the financial support many others have received over the pandemic. This has left the company in a highly-disadvantaged situation and, devastatingly, now no longer viable.

"We would like to thank our great team – most of whom have been with us for many years, and to whom we wish all the best for the future – and our customers, both in the trade and at our brewery bar in Cross Hills, for all your support since we began brewing."

Colleen Holiday, chair of Keighley & Craven Campaign for Real Ale, said the branch was "so sorry" to hear the news.

"Members' best wishes go to Steve and Robert in their future endeavours – and thank you for your help and support throughout the years."

The Old White Bear said it was "deeply saddened".

A spokesperson added: "The brewery began on our premises back in 2001, moving to its home just down the road with the sale of the pub to current owner Pickles Pubs in 2006.

"Despite this, Naylor’s beers had been a permanent fixture on our bar over all these years, with countless different brews being served – and always well received.

"We would like to say a huge 'thank you' to Stephen and Robert and their staff for all their hard work in producing fantastic beers. And as not only suppliers but close friends, we wish them all the very best in whatever they choose to do next."

Tim Dewey, chief executive of Keighley brewery Timothy Taylor, said the pandemic had been a "very tough" period for the industry.

The historic Knowle Spring firm lost over £750,000 worth of beer, that had either been thrown away or credits given for orders customers couldn’t sell.

Mr Dewey said: "The focus of Government support has been on pubs and their importance to their local communities and whilst this is absolutely right and fair, it is also fair to say that those suppliers reliant on pubs – particularly brewers – have been left behind.

"There was the furlough scheme, but unlike with pubs there were no reductions or reliefs for breweries in terms of VAT and business rates and little was available in the form of grants. When pubs were forced to close, many breweries had to destroy beer in their warehouses. Literally their raw materials and brewing expense and efforts went down the drain.

"Whilst it is true that breweries were still able to sell into the off-trade, which significantly expanded during the lockdown periods, for many – including ourselves – this is a minor activity. Pubs are at the heart of a brewery’s business model."