London Fields sold to Carlsberg: Here's what happened after three other British craft beer brands were sold to the big boys

Emma Haslett
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Camden Town brewery was sold to AB Inbev in 2016 (Source: Getty)

That wailing carried into your office window on the breeze this morning was the collective sound of anguished hipsters, after craft ale brand and ultra-cool brewery London Fields was bought by Carlsberg.

The Danish brewer is thought to have paid £4m for the company, which has its own bar and brewhouse venue in Hackney, as well as one of the capital's trendiest beer brands.

But London Fields isn't the only craft beer brand to be sold to the big boys. Three other British beer brands have been snapped up by their larger rivals in the past couple of years. Here's what happened next...

Read more: Lunchtime pint? These are the City of London's best craft beer pubs

1. Meantime: Bought by SABMiller in 2015

Greenwich based brewer Meantime, known for brands including London Pale Ale and London Lager, was snapped up by SABMiller in May 2015, after volumes grew 58 per cent in a year. As part of the deal, SABMiller promised to fund a so-called pilot brewery for its new acquisition, allowing it to try out new recipes and focus more on product development.

However, just months after the completion of the sale, SABMiller merged with AB Inbev, which sold off Meantime along with Peroni and Grolsch for €2.5m.

2. Camden Town Brewery: Bought by AB Inbev in 2015

The maker of Hells Lager and Gentleman's Wit was bought for £85m at the end of 2015, using the cash it received from its new overlords to tap into new markets, hire 40 per cent more staff and even build a new brewery in Enfield.

But despite its success, founder Jasper Cuppaidge told City A.M. he was upset by comments directed his way after the sale.

“It was hurtful,” he said, although he added: “It’s great that [customers are] so passionate about the brand that they wanted to reach out.”

3. Beer Hawk: Bought by AB Inbev in 2016

In February last year online craft ale store Beer Hawk said it had "hooked up with" (aka "been bought by") AB Inbev. What followed was an beer-fuelled fight, after rival Honest Brew penned an open letter criticising independent brands which sell to larger rivals, and accused Beer Hawk of ripping off one of its packaging designs.

Beer Hawk, though, brushed off the accusations. "When HonestBrew started to send beer in a cardboard box two years after we’d done it, we didn’t even think about it, we don’t really think us using a cardboard tube is a story worthy of a press release," it said. Ooof.

Read more: After the takeover: How Camden Town's keeping its craft credentials intact

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