Monday 14 September 2015

Rewriting history down Greenwich way

SAB-Miller was late into the craft beer market, but it has decided to catch up quickly - by rewriting history.

Through its Meantime Brewing subsidiary it has commissioned a mobile app that's an audio tour of "significant locations from London’s brewing past", and which just happens to end up at "our state-of-the-art Meantime Brewery – where the UK craft beer revolution was born in 1999."

In 1999 Meantime was (a) in a lock-up in Charlton, it only moved to its current Blackwall Lane site in 2010; and (b) about as 'craft' as any other German-style lager brewery.

Even in 2005 when it released interpretations of historic London Porter and IPA in 750ml bottles (from its Penhall Road site, the one in between Charlton and Blackwall Lane), it was mostly a lager factory. It's done some very nice beers since, but the cradle of UK craft beer? Hardly.


  1. You kind of feel sorry for the marketing junior copywriter who has to produce this stuff, who probably knows little about Meantime or beer.

  2. Yes the copy's a bit enthusiastic but Meantime was pretty cutting edge in 1999 and for years afterwards. Dismissing Alistair Hook's use of his Bavarian brewing education as being a "lager factory" is daft: good lager's really hard to brew and good lager is just what the UK needed then (we had plenty good ale already).

    Much as I applaud a post on your blog that doesn't read like a slightly rearranged press release - which was precisely what the only other one I've seen was like (the one where Marstons invited you to an event and gave you some of their crap Revisionist beers) - I don't think you're being terribly fair here.

    1. I visited the Penhall Rd brewery in the mid 2000s, not long after they launched the historical beers (and that raspberry thing!), and can still recall how factory-like it seemed in comparison with most of the other breweries I'd visited, which alongside lots of real ale micros included Young's and even Bass/M&B Cape Hill.

      I've no doubt that the lager it produced was far superior to the usual British macrobrew - as is most Bavarian lager.