SABMiller buys London craft brewer Meantime

The deal gives SABMiller a foothold in the “fastest-growing segment of the UK beer market”, the company said in a statement.

SABMiller plans to grow sales of Meantime’s beers nationally and possibly export to Europe.
The acquisition of the 15-year-old company is expected to be completed in June 2015, reports The BBC.

Volumes of beer sales at Meantime grew by 58 per cent in 2014, outpacing the UK beer market’s 1 per cent growth, according to SABMiller.

“They see the opportunity, and believe in the longevity, of modern craft beer in the UK,” said Meantime’s chief executive, Nick Miller.

Meantime’s beers, which include London Porter, India Pale Ale and Yakima Red, will join SABMiller’s beer brands such as Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell.

“We love local variety, and carefully nurture our 200 local and heritage beers,” said Sue Clark, managing director of SABMiller Europe.

“In the context of SABMiller, [the acquisition] is immaterial,” says Andrew Holland, a drinks analyst at Societe Generale. “The UK is less than 1 per cent of the business.”

SABMiller’s small presence in the UK has so far been an asset, says Mr Holland, as competition is high and profitability low in the UK.

But there are good opportunities in some specialist areas of the market, says Mr Holland. “If they could find something similar, I wouldn’t rule [another acquisition] out.”