The Last Call: SABMiller Acquires Fast Growing UK Brewery


SABMiller Acquires the UK’s Meantime Brewing

SABMiller, the world’s second largest beer company, today announced it has acquired Meantime Brewing, one of the fastest growing craft breweries in the UK. Though specific financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, the acquisition will include all of Meantime’s retail sites — the brewer currently operates a number of bars and taprooms.

In a statement, SABMiller, the South African beer and soft drinks giant and parent to MillerCoors stateside, said it plans to grow Meantime’s sales nationally, while exploring export opportunities in other European markets.

“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,” said Sue Clark, managing director of SABMiller Europe, in a news release. “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.”

Meantime’s sales volume increased 58 percent in 2014, the company said, far outpacing the 1 percent growth exhibited by the UK’s broader beer market.

“We are all excited about the opportunity to continue growing Meantime. We are also thrilled and flattered that SABMiller has given us remit to innovate,” added Nick Miller, Meantime CEO. “The team at SABMiller has stressed how important our culture is to our success to date, and have a strong record in retaining the special identities and heritage of the local businesses they’ve bought in the past decade.”

There are also plans for Meantime to open a pilot brewery to double as the center for SABMiller’s European innovation and product development, according to the news release.

The deal is expected to close in early June, at which time, Meantime will be incorporated into SABMiller Europe’s accounts.

California Craft Breweries Use How Much Water?

Earlier this year, California’s years-long drought forced the state to impose mandatory water use restrictions, an ominous sign of how severe the problem has become in the state. As such, there have been a lot of questions about how this not only impacts the state’s craft beer industry, but over how much water brewers are using to make beer. To address that, the Public Policy Institute of California recently released a report estimating the “water footprint” of craft brewers in the state.

The report, which is available to read on the California Craft Brewers Association’s website, says craft brewers use an estimated 558 million gallons of water to process 93 million gallons — or 3 million barrels — of finished product. As Brewbound reported earlier this week, California brewers made 3.4 million barrels in 2014.

Together, according to the report, craft brewers use an estimated 651 million gallons of water a year, or enough to supply 1 million people. For perspective, the entire industry’s water usage is equivalent to that of a 640-acre almond orchard, the report said. As astutely noted by Quartz, there are more than 1 million acres of almond orchards in the state.

Florida Governor Signs Growler Bill

Florida’s war over the 64 oz. growler is finally over. Yesterday, reports the Tallahassee Democrat, Gov. Rick Scott signed SB 186 into law, legalizing the long banned half-gallon container often cited as the industry standard. Prior to the bill’s passage, 32 and 128 oz. growlers were legal, though the middle size was expressly prohibited. The bill, which lawmakers passed last month, also clarifies a controversial “tourism exemption” that had allowed for brewers to operate in a legal gray area as both producers and retailers.