News

British craft beer business Camden Town Brewery sold to AB InBev

4 min read

21 December 2015

Former editor

North London-based Camden Town Brewery has capped a rapid five-year growth period by being acquired by AB InBev UK, the British trading subsidiary of its Belgian parent company.

Having been set up by Jasper Cuppaidge in 2010, Camden Town Brewery produced 12m pints in 2015 and currently employs 95 people. It’s origins can be traced back to a pub in Hampstead Village, but since then it opened a small brewery in Kentish Town, raised £2.75m via crowdfunding and began to outsource beer production to continental Europe to deal with demand.

The undisclosed value deal has been closed, a statement said, so that Camden Town Brewery can expand operations which currently see it sell as far afield as Australia.

Cuppaidge described the growth of his company as “phenomenal”, but added there was a need to keep up with demand. “AB InBev is going to be our strategic partner, helping us maintain the character and quality of our beers, while giving us access to the investment we need to drive Camden to being ever more successful at home and abroad,” he added.

“Opportunities like this come rarely. We believe we must have the ambition to grab this opportunity and turn Camden Town Brewery, and the quality it stands for, from being an outstanding London brewer to being a world famous one.”

In October 2015, Anheuser-Busch InBev announced a bid to purchase multinational competitor SABMiller for £71bn. That deal has yet to be cleared by competition authorities, but would extend upon its position as the world’s largest brewer – with a 25 per cent market share.

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However, having built itself up as first a micro brewery and then producer of craft beer, already some have begun to distance themselves from Camden Town Brewery’s now corporate backing.

In a tweet, BrewDog co-founder James Watt said: “We will no longer be selling any @CamdenBrewery in our bards. We don’t stock @ABInBevNews beers.”

We asked Cuppaidge what it was about being acquired that he and the business wouldn’t have been able to do by funding it in-house, and he said: “Global expertise, international distribution network and the investment we need to build our new brewery.”

In an interview with Real Business back in February 2015, Cuppaidge stated that he started his business up because he was tired of “corporate” lagers available to order at the pub he ran in Hampstead.

Restaurants including Bills and Byron Hamburger have added Camden drinks to the menu, with retailers such as Harrods also stocking parts of the range.

He also revealed that he took inspiration from Australian brewer Little Creatures – a business that sold out to Japanese-controlled buyer Lion through a deal valuing it at AUS$382m.

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