TWO champion brewers have announced they will merge - but have assured customers they will carry on producing their award winning ales.

Directors of Cotswold Spring Brewery in Codrington, near Yate, and the Severn Vale Brewing Company in Cam revealed the merged company would be called Combined Brewers Ltd.

They said the move, which should be complete by February 1, would provide the new company with opportunities to develop its products, with the greater scale of the operation leading to increased investment and business development.

Combined Brewers will manage all the existing beer brands for both businesses but in the first instance, the breweries will continue to operate from their existing separate sites.

Steve McDonald, of Severn Vale Brewing, said: "We plan to keep all of our existing beers and I’m sure that we will also develop some new and exciting products too.”

Mark Frankcom, of Cotswold Spring Brewery, said bringing together the brewers was an exciting development for everyone associated with the two businesses, including employees, customers and those who enjoyed their beers.

Both breweries were set up in 2005 and have each won the title of Supreme Champion Brewer, an accolade given annually by the Society of Independent Brewers.