SABMiller, the world’s second largest brewer, is to become the new owner of London-based Meantime Brewing Company.
By acquiring one of the pioneers in British modern craft beer, SABMiller hopes to gain an entry point into the fastest-growing segment of the UK beer market and complement its imported super-premium lagers such as Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell.
According to the company, SABMiller 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 CEO.
Meantime was established by Brew Master, Alastair Hook, in 1999 with a brewery in Greenwich, London. The business has since created a successful range of British and international beer styles, including its leading brand London Pale Ale, and London Lager; Yakima Red; Pilsner; India Pale Ale, and London Porter.
Managing Director of SABMiller Europe, Sue Clark commented: “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.
“Nick Miller, Alastair Hook and their team have built a strong sense of pride and identity within Meantime, which has an excellent reputation for brewing consistently high quality beers and for industry-leading innovation. mThis expertise will boost our strategy to develop beers that appeal to more people, including women, and which can be attractive alternatives to wine and sp
CEO of Meantime, Nick Miller said: “SABMiller shares our passion for putting great beer first, and making, selling and marketing it responsibly to beer aficionados worldwide.
“The team at SABMiller have stressed how important our culture is to our success to date, and have a strong track record in retaining the special identities and heritage of the local businesses they’ve bought in the past.”
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.
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.
The acquisition is expected to complete in early June 2015 and following the transaction, Meantime will open a pilot brewery which aims to become a centre for SABMiller’s European innovation and new product development.