A BREWER at the forefront of Britain’s craft beer revolution is being taken over by a multinational peer in a deal that could trigger further industry consolidation.
Meantime Brewing Company – based in Greenwich, London – was founded in 1999 by master brewer Alastair Hook and produces a range of beers such as London Pale Ale, London Lager, India Pale Ale and Yakima Red.
SABMiller, whose brands include Grolsch, Pilsner Urquell and Miller Lite, said it plans to grow Meantime’s sales nationally and study export opportunities in European markets.
The group has not disclosed the value of the deal, which will give it access to “the fastest-growing segment of the UK beer market”.
Meantime grew its beer volumes by 58 per cent last year, compared to the UK average of just 1 per cent. Beer sales have been flat across Europe for a number of years. The brand is stocked in more than 900 on-trade outlets as well as Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose.
SABMiller Europe managing director Sue Clark 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.”
Big brewers may now look to make similar inroads into a burgeoning area of the drinks market though some supporters of craft beer and micro-brewing have warned that brands risk losing their appeal if they sell out to global players.