Meantime set to grow UK distribution after SABMiller takeover

Nick Miller Meantime

Meantime Brewing Company in London is set to increase distribution across the UK after accepting a takeover offer from global beer company SABMiller.

The deal will support continued growth of its beers outside of its London heartland, led by the core range of London Pale Ale, London Lager, Yakima Red and Pilsner.

It will also see the installation of a new pilot brewing facility which will become a centre for innovation and new product development for SABMiller Europe. It will also allow Greenwich-based Meantime to continue to develop seasonal, limited-edition and permanent beers.

Meantime’s existing management team, headed by chief executive Nick Miller (pictured) and Meantime founder and brew master Alastair Hook, will continue to run the business. The deal is expected to be completed in early June.

It is the first home-grown British brewer to become part of SABMiller whose other brands include Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Miller Genuine Draft and Grolsch.

Nick, who was previously managing director of SABMiller’s UK business Miller Brands, 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.

“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 added: “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 also produces beers for local markets around the world such as Castle in South Africa, Snow in China, Victoria Bitter in Australia and Tyskie in Poland.

Sue Clark, managing director of 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.”

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