POPULAR homebrew Dorset Tea will no longer be made in Dorset.
The company which makes the brew, Keith Spicer Limited, has announced plans to move all of its production lines to its factory in Newcastle.
It follows a decision made last year to move the production of some of its private label brands to its manufacturing plant in North Shields.
At the time the firm said it would continue to manufacture its Dorset Tea brand at its factory at Ferndown Industrial Estate, but now Spicers has revealed it will be moving all its production lines to the factory in Earl Grey Way.
The move could see 21 jobs put at risk in Ferndown. But the company has said there would be a job for every single person from the Ferndown production line at the Newcastle factory should they choose to relocate.
Karen Parkinson, HR manager for Spicers, told the Echo the firm was currently in a period of consultation and that a decision was not imminent.
It is believed the move to Newcastle won’t happen until March next year once the consultation period is over.
Mrs Parkinson added: “After careful analysis and consideration we will be consolidating our capabilities by moving all production lines in Wimborne to our facility in North Shields.
“The Keith Spicer head office, the home of Dorset Tea, which was established in 1934, will remain in Dorset.
“Keith Spicer’s tea buying, tea blenders and tasters, commercial and administration teams will remain at the head office allowing the creative engine behind our partner brands and our own brands including Dorset Tea to remain in Dorset.
“We remain committed to our Dorset home and Dorset Tea will also continue to support local charities such as Julia’s House and The Weldmar Hospice Trust and projects which have a positive impact on the local community.
“As a business we deeply regret any potential job losses, but we will ensure that all our employees that are affected by this will be treated fairly and respectfully and assist them with finding alternative employment including relocating to North Shields.”
The origins of the company date back to 1934, when 24-year-old Keith Spicer founded the business, using the parlour of the family home in Bournemouth as the blending department.
The company grew, rapidly becoming an important supplier to the local hotel and catering industries and by 1970 had moved to purpose-built premises in Ferndown.
In 2009 Dorset Tea was created to celebrate Keith Spicer’s success.
Dorset Tea Golden Blend is available at Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose and Asda stores, with fruit and herbal infusions available in Tesco and Asda.