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Meantime brewery joins SABMiller

Meantime Brewing Company, the Greenwich-based craft beer producer, 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 CEO 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. Nick Miller will report directly to Sue Clark, MD, 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. 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 comments: “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.”

Hook adds: “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.”

SABMiller Europe’s Clark says: “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.”

Jeremy Cunnington, senior alcoholic drinks analyst at Euromonitor, comments: “SABMiller is a small player in the UK market with a 3% share in 2014, although between 2009-2014, volumes grew by 25% in a category that declined 7% over the same period. SABMiller has always focused on premium imported larger in the UK and its latest acquisition with London-based Meantime Brewing Company complements its premium focus. Between 2009-2013, the number of breweries has grown by 93% driven by the craft phenomenon.”


Meantime Brewing Company
Meantime Brewery was founded in Greenwich fifteen years ago. The brewer is now one of the UK's largest modern craft brewers and still continues to make its beers in the same way, having built a state-of-the-art brewery in 2010. There are 10 bottled beers in Meantime's core bottled range: London Lager, London Pale Ale, Pilsner, Yakima Red, IPA, London Porter, Chocolate Porter, Wheat beer, Raspberry Wheat and London Stout. The brand also packages its London Lager, London Pale Ale, London Stout, Meantime Wheat, Yakima Red and Pilsner on draught. Meantime is now stocked in over 900 on-trade outlets as well as Waitrose, Sainsbury's and M&S.


SABMiller plc is the world’s second largest brewing company and one of the world’s largest bottlers of Coca-Cola drinks. A FTSE-20 company with shares trading on the London Stock Exchange and a secondary listing on the Johannesburg stock exchange, it operates in more than 80 countries with around 70,000 employees. The brand portfolio includes leading local brands such as Aguila (Colombia), Castle (South Africa), Miller Lite (USA), Snow (China), Victoria Bitter (Australia) and Tyskie (Poland) as well as global brands such as Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Miller Genuine Draft and Grolsch. Every minute of every day, more than 140,000 bottles of SABMiller beer are sold. In the year ended 31 March 2015, SABMiller sold 318 million hectolitres of lager, soft drinks and other alcoholic beverages, generating group net producer revenue of US$26,288 million and EBITA of US$6,367 million.



15 May 2015 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor