Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Case Study - Manufacturing Industry - The Whitbread Brewery

Traditionally all beer was brewed in local market towns on a small scale as it was bulky and expensive to move around. Today the trend is for large 'jumbo' breweries, but they are still market orientated (i.e. locate close to major markets).

(Photo credit at end of post)

What influences the choice of location for the brewing industry?

Raw materials required - malt; water; sugar; hops and yeast

  • The raw material needed in the largest quantity is water, but this is not significant to the location of the brewing industry as it is possible to source water either through the main system or by digging a borehole.
  • Hops and Malt are also easily available and for a reasonable price (transport costs are relatively low)
  • The costs of transporting the raw materials are therefore far less than the costs of transporting the beer to market
  • Therefore the brewing industry (market-orientated) tends to locate as close to the market as possible.


Where was the original location of the brewery?
  • originally opened in London in 1796
  • in 1960s it needed a vast brewery to supply the large market area - the urban location of London meant that there was no room for expansion and transport costs to the rest of the South and East were expensive.
Where did the Brewery locate to and why?

A new "jumbo" brewery was built at Leagrave in Luton in 1976 - this site was chosen because:
  • it was the optimum least cost site for the market
  • very close to London and major towns (e.g. Watford, Stevenage
  • well placed for the SE England and W Midlands market
  • industrial land was available in the area
  • plenty of water was available from the boreholes in the Chiltern Hills
  • Raw materials could be transported easily by road - e.g. the M1 and M10
  • 500 workers - skilled and local were available due to the closure of a small brewery at the time.
An example of an exam question based on this case study:

Name and locate an example of a manufacturing industry or factory which you have studied in the UK. Explain why the manufacturing industry is located there. (6 marks)

Photo Credit: B Harris-Roxas http://www.flickr.com/photos/34546323@N00/103834807 - Creative Commons)

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