Two pints of Meantime
|Alastair Hook (founder)|
It was founded in 2000 by Alastair Hook, who trained at Heriot-Watt University and the brewing school of the Technical University of Munich of Weihenstephan. He started the brewery in a small lock-up on an industrial estate opposite Charlton Athletic’s ground, before moving to the Greenwich Brewery, 0° 2' 12" east of the Greenwich Meridian, and then to a site on nearby Blackwall Lane in 2010. The new brewery, including Rolec brewhouse, cost £7M; by 2013 they were producing 50,000 hectolitres but a growth rate of 60% per year meant that they expected to reach their capacity of 120,000 hectolitres by 2016.
Its coffee porter, launched in 2005, was Britain's first Fairtrade beer (using coffee from the Maraba Coffee cooperative of Rwanda), and went on to win a gold award at the 2006 World Beer Cup. Meantime was the first British brewery to win awards at the World Beer Cup in 2004 and is the only British brewery to have won medals at every WBC since. However, only beers that pay to enter are judged.
In 2007, Meantime had four beers ranked in the "World's 50 Best Beers" as compiled by the UK-based International Beer Challenge; a feat it repeated in 2008. Alastair Hook was named the 2008 Brewer of the Year by the British Guild of Beer Writers.
In July 2015, Alastair Hook was again named Brewer of the Year, this time by the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group at its annual awards dinner. In the same year The Beer Academy awarded Rod Jones Meantime's Beer Sommelier and Brewer and Beer Sommelier of the Year title.
In August 2015, Meantime were "forced to admit" that production of their London Lager had been outsourced on one occasion to Grolsch (another SAB Miller brand) in the Netherlands to meet demand, but that the Dutch beer makes up no more than 10% of any bottle. It has since invested to future-proof capacity at the brewery to ensure all Meantime beers are and will be brewed on site in Greenwich.
Prior to September 2009, Meantime manufactured all the beers in Sainsbury's "Taste the Difference" range. Meantime brews a range of twelve regularly available beers which focuses on traditional British and European styles such as Lager, Pale Ale, Porter and India Pale Ale. In addition, it also produces an annual range of limited edition seasonal ales, which vary each year.
Meantime owns and operates the Greenwich Union public house on Royal Hill, Greenwich and, in 2010, opened the Old Brewery bar and restaurant with brewery in the original 1836 Brewhouse of the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, making it only the second brewery in the world to be located within a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Meantime also operates a visitor's centre attached to its brewing site on Blackwall Lane. In August 2014, Meantime opened the Beer Box on the Greenwich Peninsula close to the North Greenwich underground station, and in December of the same year, the business opened its Tasting Rooms and Brewery Shop within the grounds of its Greenwich brewery,
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