SAB Miller says Meantime acquisition will allow for ‘versatile marketing’

Independent beer brands remain “attractive propositions” to SABMiller as they can appeal to wider consumer groups than traditional lagers, according to European managing director Sue Clark, who spoke to Marketing Week today (May 15) as it acquired London-based modern craft brewer Meantime.

SAB Miller

The acquisition of Meantime will give SABMiller an entry into the craft beer market, while complimenting its imported lager brands such as Peroni and Nastro Azzuro, according to Clark.

“Meantime is a great business and has already done a brilliant job in its marketing, but we can give it real scale and help it roll out products across Europe,” said Clark, with SABMiller already owning 200 local and heritage beers.

“It [Meantime] is an attractive proposition as it has a wide range of big styles from ales, stouts, porters, wheats and lagers, and we are interested in brands that can be versatile with their products, and appeal to a wider audience [than traditional brands].”

Volume of beer sales at Meantime grew by 58% in 2014, outpacing overall UK beer market growth of 1%, and SABMiller says it will maintain Meantime’ founders Nick Miller and Alastair Hook as part of the acquisition, with Clark insisting that there isn’t plans to change its uniquely independent characteristics.

She said: “We have shown we are good custodians of independent businesses across Europe, with acquisitions such as Belgian Abbey, and growing and investing in local beer brands is in our DNA.”

Clark hasn’t strayed away from calling out beer brands for not speaking enough to female drinkers in the past, and she insists that brands such as Meantime can have a cross-gender appeal.

“In the past we have tended to just target young male consumers,” she added. “At best we haven’t appealed to women and at worst we have put them off.

“But with our Peroni ads, we’ve moved away from that, and with Meantime, which has chocolate porters and stouts which will be more attractive to women and older consumers, we can be broader with who we reach, and have versatile marketing.”

Chris Wisson, senior drinks analyst at Mintel, meanwhile, says he’s surprised the move to buy Meantime has taken so long.

“In the US market there’s been a trend of indies getting swallowed up for a while now, with the likes of AB InBev acquiring Goose Island and Molson Coors buying out Cornwall brewery Sharp’s, who make Doom Bar, back in 2011.

“It’s taken a long time for the UK big boys to really tap into this trend. I think this won’t be the last independent brewery acquisition from SABMiller and will trigger many similar deals.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here