Camden Town Brewery — the name behind London's famous Camden Hells Lager — has been sold to global brewing giant Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) for an undisclosed amount of money.
Although the deal is yet to be signed, the paperwork will be completed by 7 January 2016, at which time Camden Town Brewery will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of AB InBev.
The surprise news follows a 2015 public fundraising campaign, in which Camden Town raised £2.75m from fans and enthusiasts in order to build a second north London brewery.
It's unlikely that many of those who invested would have predicted Camden Town Brewery's decision to hand over the reins shortly after. However, a Camden Town Brewery spokesman told Londonist that any decision to invest was a good one:
"This deal represents a very successful exit for all shareholders, particularly if you think about the size of their investment and the period of time for which each of them has held shares in Camden Town Brewery."
It has not been revealed how much of AB InBev's own capital, if any, will be pumped into the second London brewery site. It's also not fully clear if Camden Town's plan to "pave the way for further growth and expansion" will involve building breweries outside of London in the future, although we're told that when the second brewery opens in 2017, it will provide "plenty of capacity".
Creative control over marketing and the beer itself may be another concern for the brewery's fans, though Camden Town's spokesman was quick to assure Londonist that the partnership means they can brew more beer themselves, allowing more control over their future if anything.
Said Camden Town Brewery founder and CEO Jasper Cuppaidge: “Opportunities like this come rarely. We believe we must have the ambition to grab this opportunity and turn Camden Town Brewery, and the quality it stands for, from being an outstanding London brewer to being a world famous one.”
Iain Newell, European director of specialities and craft at AB InBev — which produces drinks including Budweiser, Stella Artois, Beck's and Corona — said “We have a passion for great beer".