SABMiller enters UK craft beer sector with acquisition of Meantime Brewing
SABMiller is acquiring London-based craft brewer Meantime Brewing Company Meantime to give it a foothold in the fastest-growing segment of the UK beer market.
The global brewing giant said it plans to grow sales of Meantime’s beers nationally and explore export opportunities in its European markets under the continued leadership of Nick Miller, Meantime’s CEO.
Meantime was established by Alastair Hook in 1999 with a brewery in Greenwich, London. The business has since created a successful range of British and international beer styles. Volumes of beer sales at Meantime grew by 58% in 2014, outpacing the UK beer market’s 1% growth during the same period and making it one of the top-performing modern craft breweries in the UK.
Sue Clark, Managing Director, SABMiller Europe, said: “Meantime has been at the forefront of the modern craft beer movement in the UK and brews an outstanding range of beers across a variety of styles. At SABMiller we love local variety, and carefully nurture our 200 local and heritage beers. Meantime, born in a city with a rich beer heritage, will be a special new addition to the SABMiller family.”
Nick Miller added: “I can say from personal experience, that SABMiller is a great company to be joining forces with. They see the opportunity, and believe in the longevity, of modern craft beer in the UK.
“We are all excited about the opportunity to continue growing Meantime. We are also thrilled and flattered that SABMiller has given us a remit to innovate. This is a massive compliment and acknowledges our position as pioneers in modern craft beer.”
Among Meantime’s award-winning lagers and ales are its leading brand London Pale Ale, London Lager, Yakima Red, Pilsner, India Pale Ale and London Porter. London Pale Ale and London Lager together account for around 70% of total volumes. Following the transaction, Meantime will open a pilot brewery which will become a centre for SABMiller’s European innovation and new product development.
The acquisition includes Meantime’s retail sites, including the Tasting Rooms and the brewery shop in Greenwich, the Greenwich Union pub, pop-up Beerbox pub, and the Brewery Fresh tank beer concept, which is now in 26 pubs across London, complementing SABMiller’s Pilsner Urquell unpasteurised tank beer in a further four London pubs.
Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to be completed in early June, were not disclosed.