Carlsberg buys London Fields: what could possibly go wrong?

In Uncategorized on July 4, 2017 by kmflett

Carlsberg buys London Fields: what could possibly go wrong?

The beer writer Matthew Curtis (amongst others & of course the Morning Advertiser) had the story on Monday that Carlsberg has ended its search for a UK craft brewery by buying London Fields.

Since the asking price was £1m this may seem like a bargain, although the London Evening Standard reported that the overall cost was more like £4m. The former owner who the HMRC are set to pursue in Court again next week, will have no further relationship to the brewery. It is reported that the brewery is currently owned by the former owner’s father.

A working brewery does not actually exist. HMRC removed most of the brewing equipment a while back and the beer has been contract brewed at Tom Woods in Lincolnshire which itself unfortunately went into administration in June 2017.

What Carlsberg have bought then is a location (not yet the whole of Hackney..) and a brand. They will it appears install new brewing equipment and that will clearly be associated with the fairly recently launched UK venture of Brooklyn Brewery.

London Fields Brewery and its owner has at best an unfortunate history which can google. Just how many people do may determine in part the fate of how successful Carlsberg’s move is.

Some may say that since London Fields has a name as the first London craft beer brewery (I’m far from sure this is really correct but we are talking brand perception here) and some well-known brand names such as Love not War, the fact that the beer in recent times has often been mediocre and not much seen won’t mean much.

Carlsberg have said that production of London Fields beers will cease for a while (if they were actually currently being brewed) while the new brewery is set up. Whether they plan to mirror existing brands, some of which such as Shoreditch Triangle IPA they reference, is unclear.

No doubt what Carlsberg/Brooklyn brew in Hackney will be of good quality, easily available and probably also priced to undercut the market.

Will I drink it? It would need to be very good indeed to get me to buy a glass given the history and the general dislike of mega-breweries attempts to disrupt craft beer.

However as someone on social media commented Carlsberg have certainly acquired the only London ‘craft’ brewery that will provoke no complaints about it being bought.

That said, this is how capitalism works. Let’s hope that the new London Fields brewery pays the London Living Wage and recognises trade unions



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