SABMiller is to become the new owner of London-based modern craft brewer Meantime Brewing Company (“Meantime”).
Meantime is a pioneer in British modern craft beer, giving SABMiller an entry point into the fastest-growing segment of the UK beer market and complementing its imported super-premium lagers such as Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell.
SABMiller plans to grow sales of Meantime’s beers nationally and explore export opportunities in its European markets under the continued leadership of Nick Miller, Meantime CEO.
Meantime was established by Brew Master, Alastair Hook, in 1999 with a brewery in Greenwich, London. The business has since created a successful range of British and international beer styles.
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. This expertise will boost our strategy to develop beers that appeal to more people, including women, and which can be attractive alternatives to wine and spirits.”
Nick Miller, CEO, Meantime, said: “I can say from personal experience, that SABMiller is a great company to be joining forces with. They see the opportunity, and believe in the longevity, of modern craft beer in the UK.
“SABMiller shares our passion for putting great beer first, and making, selling and marketing it responsibly to beer aficionados worldwide. The team at SABMiller have stressed how important our culture is to our success to date, and have a strong track record in retaining the special identities and heritage of the local businesses they’ve bought in the past.
“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 innovate. This is a massive compliment and acknowledges our position as pioneers in modern craft beer.”
Volumes of beer sales at Meantime grew by 58% in 2014, outpacing the UK beer market’s 1% growth during the same period and making it one of the top-performing modern craft breweries in the UK.
Among Meantime’s award-winning lagers and ales are its leading brand London Pale Ale, London Lager, Yakima Red, Pilsner, India Pale Ale and London Porter. London Pale Ale and London Lager together account for around 70% of total volumes. Following the transaction, Meantime will open a pilot brewery which will become a centre for SABMiller’s European innovation and new product development.
The acquisition includes Meantime’s retail sites, including the Tasting Rooms and the brewery shop in Greenwich, the Greenwich Union pub, pop-up Beerbox pub, and the Brewery Fresh tank beer concept, which is now in 26 pubs across London, complementing SABMiller’s Pilsner Urquell unpasteurised tank beer in a further four London pubs.
The acquisition is expected to complete in early June 2015 and Meantime will be incorporated into SABMiller Europe’s accounts. The financial terms of the transaction are confidential.
Notes to editors
SABMiller plc is in the beer and soft drinks business. We are the world’s second largest brewing company and are one of the world’s largest bottlers of Coca-Cola drinks. We also produce a portfolio of wholly-owned soft drinks brands.
We are a FTSE-20 company, with shares trading on the London Stock Exchange, and we have a secondary listing on the Johannesburg stock exchange. We operate in more than 80 countries with around 70,000 employees.
Our 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, we sold 324 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.
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.