SABMiller guzzles up leading craft brewery

Meantime Brewing Company, the highly-rated craft brewer based in Greenwich, South London, has been bought by global beer giant SABMiller for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition is by analysts seen as something of a coup for SABMiller – the world’s second biggest brewer and owner of global brands such as Fosters, Grolsch and Peroni – as Meantime is the first British brewery to enter its portfolio.

Sue Clark, MD at SABMiller Europe, would not reveal the cost of adding this “special new addition” to company’s portfolio but described it as “small in the context of SABMiller”.

Under the deal SABMiller will seek to expand Meantime’s reach and sell its craft beers – led by its London Pale Ale, London Lager, Yakima Red and Pilsner – in new global markets, as well as widen their distribution in the UK.

Meantime’s management team, led by chief executive Nick Miller and founder Alastair Hook, will continue to run the company.

SABMiller will also fund a “pilot brewing facility” at Meantime’s Greenwich base led by Hook, Meantime’s master brewer. The centre will serve as a hub for innovation and product development for SABMiller Europe and will produce beers for both Meantime and its other brands.

 “We needed greater resources and capabilities, access to more global markets and a partner with appropriate cultural fit – we’ve found that, said Nick Miller.

“We’re thrilled that SABMiller has given us a remit to continue to innovate. This is a massive compliment and acknowledges our position as pioneers in the modern craft beer category in the UK.”

Meantime was founded by Hook in a tram shed in 1999 and now makes 40 different styles of beer.

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