Greenwich-based craft brewer Meantime Brewing has opened the doors to The Tasting Rooms, its brand new multi-purpose venue that offers the chance to tour, drink and shop in the company’s main brewery.
The business has invested £6.4m over the last 18 months to create a fully immersive brewery and “modern craft beer” experience.
Meantime have converted a 9,000sq ft space adjacent to their existing brewery, to create The Tasting Rooms. The complex will comprise a 100 person capacity bar and visitor centre, complete with views across the brewery, bridging the gap between the consumer and the brewing process like never before. The space includes new brewing equipment, with 800hl maturation vessels and a 21st century kegging robot, which consumers can view from the retail area.
The Tasting Rooms also include a fully merchandised shop open to the public seven days a week, which stocks much more than just beer and branded clothing. A walk in Cold Store room is accessible to consumers wishing to take home ready-chilled beer, including growlers from the newly installed growler filling station.
The opening of the new site has created an additional 20 new jobs, with more brewers, bar staff, tour guides and retail workers recruited. The build will bring the size of the brewery’s main facility up to 35,000 square foot.
Nick Miller, chief executive of Meantime Brewing Company, said: “The Tasting Rooms will bring our customers even closer to the brewing process, allowing them to enjoy high quality modern craft beer and food, with the added theatre of being in the heart of a working brewery. The way people think about beer is changing. Provenance and the use of the finest ingredients, coupled with the latest brewing technology enable our quest for better tasting beer. Consumers are also more engaged than ever with quality and locality, wanting to engage with, and understand the brewing process, and this deeper education is becoming part of the enjoyment.”
The Tasting Rooms forms part of Meantime’s ongoing investment plan, which has seen investment of £9.5m since 2010, when the company moved to the current brewery site, creating a state-of-the-art facility in Greenwich.
In 2013, Meantime became the first British brewer to introduce the tank beer concept to the UK market with its phenomenally successful Brewery Fresh offering. The Tasting Rooms marks the 25th installation of Brewery Fresh tanks in premium accounts across the country. The cutting-edge storage and dispense method protects the beer from light, oxygen and fluctuations in temperature, and allows the beer to continually mature meaning consumers can enjoy an optimum straight-from-the-brewery taste.
Miller said: “The category is shifting as beer drinkers seek a better tasting, premium pint. The craft offering in London alone is huge so we need to stay ahead of the curve, driving the category forward. We have one of the most technologically advanced breweries in the world and we were the first to bring a Brewery Fresh beer offering to the UK. The Tasting Rooms marks a new chapter for Meantime and we’re excited to share our passion for great beer with consumers.”
The improved brewery site has the capacity to make 120,000 hectolitres of beer per year, and host over 1,500 people on brewery tours each month, as well as space for 100+ people in its new bar. There are plans to expand on Meantime’s current educational focus for consumers and the trade in 2015, with the introduction of new courses designed for beginners right through to advanced brewers and future sommeliers.
Meantime will use the new space to step up its offerings of beer and food matching events and tutored tastings, as well as offering a bar and restaurant area for year-round use. The space will aim to immerse consumers and trade into the craft brewing process first hand, whilst demonstrating the wide range of tastes that beer can deliver. On the top of Meantime’s agenda is to continue challenging the way people think about and approach beer, and educate visitors on the quality and innovation at the heart of every Meantime brew.