There are nine sites on the shortlist for a new site for Brakspear's brewery, and the final decision should be announced early next year, the company that is to brew Brakspear's beers said.

Brakspear, the Henley on Thames brewer and pub owner, decided earlier this year to pull out of brewing and sell its £10m brewery site for development, after failing to make enough margin on beer sales.

It struck a deal with the beer company Refresh UK which means Refresh building a new brewery as close to Henley as possible to produce Brakspear's beers. Now, after a public appeal, Refresh has been given more than 80 potential sites for the new brewery, of which nine are on the shortlist.

Refresh UK's chief executive, Rupert Thompson, said all nine were in attractive, mature surroundings incorporating listed buildings rather than in greenfield sites, all were in South Oxfordshire and all within 15 miles of Henley.

Detailed negotiations are about to begin with the top three sites, he said, with an announcement of the future brewery site "early in the new year." Progress also depended on planning permission from South Oxfordshire District Council, he said.

Meanwhile Brakspear's Bitter and Brakspear Special are being test-brewed at the Thomas Hardy Burtonwood brewery in Cheshire, where they will be brewed until the new Brakspear brewery opens. Brakspear's Oh Be Joyful Christmas beer will be brewed at the Wychwood brewery, which is owned by Refresh.