A BERKSHIRE brewery has been saved from collapse after being bought out four months after it found itself at the centre of allegations of bullying and sexual harassment.

West Berkshire Brewery has now been taken over by The Yattendon Group, a private company owned by newspaper proprietors the Iliffe family, publishers of the Newbury Weekly News and Newbury Today. The family also owns the 9,000-acre Yattendon Estate where the award-winning brewery is based.

The brewery's managing director Tom Lucas, 41, was removed from his post in September after a group of present and former employees known as the WBB Renegades wrote an open letter claiming there were accounts of "bullying, racism, homophobic, sexism and sexual harassment" at the company.

A spokesman for West Berkshire Brewery, who asked to remain unnamed, confirmed the acquisition and said measures had now been put in place to ensure such incidents don't occur in future.

Speaking to The Reading Chronicle this week, he said: "There were some articles published in the Times last year about insensible behaviour from the CEO, which were dealt with promptly.

"The company has put in measures to ensure that this does not happen again."

Looking ahead to the future and commenting on the sale to the Yattendon Group, the spokesman said: "The transaction occurred on December 23.

"Yattendon Group Plc has acquired the trade and business of West Berkshire Brewery and will continue to trade under that name.

"West Berkshire Brewery ran into difficulty during the course of last year and got into cash flow trouble in the autumn.

"I think it is very positive news for the brewery and the staff have reacted very well to it.

"We have just started the process of settling it down and can begin moving forwards."

Founded in 1995, the Yattendon Estate-based business has won a string of awards for its craft beers and secured more than £750,000 through crowdfunding from members of the public. Their popular brews include Good Old Boy and Renegade lager.

Commenting on the acquisition, a source told The Chronicle: "They [the Yattendon Group] acquired West Berkshire Brewery because it was a utilisation of the site.

"They have got other businesses, such as a malting business.

"They see the craft beer sector as growing strongly, and were very attracted to the brewery's offer of a low-alcohol beer, Solo, which is going very well.

"They have had lots of links with the brewery, regularly trading with it through Crisp Maltings.

"Ultimately they thought it was a good addition to their portfolio.

"They are a long-term family business looking for cash flow and a solid business model rather than 'bump it up and flog it to the next guy'."