Meantime Brewing Company, the Greenwich-based modern craft beer pioneer, has accepted an offer from SABMiller to acquire the business, making Meantime the first home-grown British brewer within SABMiller’s global business.
Meantime’s existing management team, led by chief executive Nick Miller and Meantime founder and brew master Alastair Hook, will continue to run the company supported by the current sales and marketing, production and retail teams. Miller will report directly to Sue Clark, managing director, SABMiller Europe.
The focus for the Meantime management team in this next stage of development will be two-fold:
Firstly, expansion of its Greenwich brewery enabling the continued growth of its existing portfolio of modern craft beers – led by the core range of London Pale Ale, London Lager, Yakima Red and Pilsner. This will enable the Sales team to continue to drive growth in target key cities across the UK as well as in new export markets. This expansion beyond Meantime’s London heartland provides more drinkers across the UK and further afield with the chance to enjoy Meantime’s high quality beers.
Secondly, the installation of a new pilot brewing facility at Meantime’s Greenwich brewery will be led by Alastair Hook and will become a centre for innovation and new product development for SABMiller Europe. The pilot brewery will allow Meantime to continue to create innovative beer styles for Meantime’s Seasonal, Limited Edition and permanent ranges.
Miller said: “I can say from personal experience, that SABMiller is a great company to be joining forces with. I am delighted that they have seen the opportunity and believe in the longevity of the modern craft beer category in the UK and beyond. SABMiller has a long track record in nurturing local-market beer businesses that are recognised and loved worldwide.
“SABMiller shares our passion for putting great beer first and making, selling and marketing it responsibly to drinkers worldwide. The team at SABMiller have stressed how important our culture has been to our success to date and wish to see it retained within the business going forward.
“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 continue to innovate. This is a massive compliment and acknowledges our position as pioneers in the modern craft beer category in the UK.”
Alastair Hook, founder and brew master of Meantime Brewing Company, said: “When I started Meantime back in a tram shed in 1999, I had a vision that British beer would one day become world-leading. I wanted to see London brewed beers given an opportunity to take the world stage – by combining a respect for our great brewing history with an approach that embraces modern technology and production. This partnership means that we now have the opportunity to see that vision become a reality.”
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, 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.”