Heineken is to close Beamish & Crawford brewery in Cork next March, with the loss of 120 jobs.

Production operations will be transferred to one site at Heineken Ireland's Leitrim Street brewery in Cork city.

Up to 40 employees from Beamish & Crawford will move to Heineken Ireland, with 120 others losing their jobs.

The Beamish & Crawford brewery was founded in Cork in 1792 by William Beamish and William Crawford.

Local Fine Gael TD Deirdre Clune described the decision as a body blow for Cork.

'This is a dreadful day for the 120 Beamish & Crawford staff and their families, particularly in the run-up to Christmas' she said.

In a statement, Heineken Ireland said it made the decision following an ‘a review of both individual brewing operations with particular focus on capacity, expansion capability and future investment’.

Managing Director Gerrit van Loo said: ‘Retaining two breweries is not sustainable and the loss of so many jobs remains a sad but unavoidable outcome.’

‘We will do all we can to minimise the impact on people and the community. We have agreed comprehensive severance terms with the trade unions, we will provide outplacement support, including career counselling, job search training and pension advice to all departing staff’.