Another indie craft beer brewery is set to be taken over by a giant of the industry, as Carlsberg UK acquires hip Hackney-based London Fields Brewery.
The deal will be a joint venture between Carlsberg and Brooklyn Brewery, for which Carlsberg is the UK distributor. London Fields will continue to operate independently, retaining current staff, but Brooklyn will be involved in the brewing process.
Julian Momen, Carlsberg UK CEO, said: "Our customers, and specifically those in London and other major cities, are looking to us to offer them the best possible range of interesting craft beers – and we think that, with nurturing, London Fields Brewery has huge potential."
Carlsberg has promised to get the brewery back up and running in Hackney, its original home. City A.M. understands that future plans could include distributing the beer on a larger scale, if Carlsberg perceives there to be enough interest from its wider market.
London Fields Brewery was founded in 2011 and now has a bar and a brewhouse venue in Hackney, as well as its brewery.
The initial asking price for the company was £1m, but Carlsberg would not confirm how much it paid. The Evening Standard reported that the deal could be worth as much as £4m.
It was first put up for sale early last year after founder Jules Whiteway-Wilkinson was charged with deliberately not paying VAT and other charges. According to documents filed at Companies House, he resigned from the company in January 2016, passing control to his father Juan de Vere Whiteway-Wilkinson. The family now has no ownership over the brand, after Carlsberg paid an undisclosed sum to take total control.
Jules Whiteway-Wilkinson appeared in court earlier this year on the charges against him, alongside his wife Rosemary Spence. The trial collapsed after jurors pulled out, but he is due to face the allegations, which he denies, later this month.
Despite his controversial reputation, Whiteway-Wilkinson received a nod as Carlsberg announced the takeover. Momen said: "We thank Julian for his work in establishing London Fields Brewery and the creation of this exciting brand, and we wish him well in the future."