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SAB Miller snaps up London craft brewery

Published:  15 May, 2015

Brewery giant SAB Miller has bought craft brewery the Meantime Brewing Company for an undisclosed sum.

The deal will allow SABMiller to tap into the fast-growing domestic craft beer markets, and add to its portfolio of imported premium lagers, which includes Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquel, as well as its range of local and heritage beers.

As part of the arrangement, Meantime will open a small product development brewery that will become SAB Miller's innovation centre.

SABMIller Europe's managing director Sue Clark said Meantime had been at the forefront of the modern craft beer movement in the UK and would be a "special" addition to the company.

"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," she said.

Meantime's chief executive Nick Miller said the move would give it an opportunity to grow and continue to innovate.

"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," he said.

He said that the pilot innovation brewery was "a massive compliment" and that SAB Miller saw the opportunity, and believed in the longevity, of modern craft beer in the UK.

"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," he said.

Beer sales at Meantime grew 58% by volume in 2014, well ahead of the overall beer market's 1% growth. Earlier this week SABMiller reported it had seen strong topline growth in the 12 months to 31 March, with net producer revenue growth of 5%, volumes up 3% and EBITDA also up 6%.