Carlsberg buys London Fields Brewery

Carlsberg UK has acquired London Fields Brewery and will operate the business in a joint venture with New York’s Brooklyn Brewery.

London Fields Brewery, founded in 2011, was the first commercial brewery to open in Hackney since the 19th century. It was originally put up for sale in March 2016, following the arrest of owner Julian De Vere Whiteway-Wilkinson on suspicion of fraud.

Whiteway-Wilkinson was originally charged with three counts of cheating the public revenue in respect of VAT, national insurance and student loan contributions, and one count of fraudulently evading income tax.

London Fields is responsible for a portfolio of craft beers including Hackney Hopster, Easy IPA and Shoreditch Triangle IPA. It will operate as an independent business within the joint venture between Carlsberg UK and Brooklyn Brewery.

Its craft beer range will now become part of Carlsberg UK’s core portfolio, which already includes Brooklyn Brewery’s beers. Carlsberg took over the distribution of Brooklyn Brewery’s beers in the UK in October 2016. 

Carlsberg UK also plans to invest in a project to move the main brewery back to its original home under the railway arches in Hackney.

Julian Momen, Carlsberg UK’s CEO, commented: “We’re thrilled to add London Fields Brewery to our growing portfolio of great quality craft and specialty beers.

“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. It’s the right move for us as we build a credible craft portfolio.”

“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. Looking ahead, we’re thrilled and energised to be working with Brooklyn Brewery to create something very special in Hackney in the years to come”.

Eric Ottaway, CEO of Brooklyn Brewery, added: “We’re excited to be able to work closely with this great London-based craft brewery. The range of beers, their eye-catching artwork and the great location of the brewery in Hackney makes for a fantastic platform. London Fields Brewery is surrounded by a thriving creative community that reminds us of home, and we’re looking forward to becoming part of it”.

The London Fields team will now work with Brooklyn Brewery to continue developing new beers.

This marks the latest in a long line of craft beer acquisitions by ‘big beer’ brands, although in this case, following the announced sale after the fraud allegations, some form of buy-up seemed inevitable.

In June, Carlsberg UK launched its new craft beer portfolio in its Crafted handbook boasting 65 beers and ciders.

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