Brewing giant, SABMiller is buying Britain’s Meantime Brewing Company, snapping up one of the pioneers of craft brewing to give the owner of big brands such as Peroni and Grolsch exposure to a fast-growing part of the drinks market.
A surge in demand for craft beers in recent years has stolen market share from the world’s two biggest brewers, SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev, as consumers seek a more authentic taste and support niche, local suppliers.
Sales volumes of Meantime’s beers — including London Pale Ale and London Lager — soared 58% in 2014, compared with a 1% rise in Britain’s beer market as a whole.
Meantime was founded with the backing of a group of friends in a former tram shed in Greenwich in south London in 1999.
Set to become part of a brewing giant, supporters of craft beer say the brand risks losing part of its authentic appeal.
Meantime’s chief executive Nick Miller, who joined from SABMiller in 2011, tried to fend off worries that the company was selling-out.
“SABMiller shares our passion for putting great beer first, and making, selling and marketing it responsibly to beer aficionados worldwide,” he said in a statement.
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