London-based brewer Meantime has opened the biggest new brewery in the capital since 1936, in a move that will allow it to quadruple brewing capacity.
The Greenwich site will also host a brand-new visitors' centre and shop where drinkers will be able to go behind the scenes to see how Meantime's beers are made for the first time.
The business is investing £3m over the next two years and aims to create 30 new jobs in London as a result of its expansion.
The jobs will come as part of the new brewery (across production, tour guide recruitment, catering and support), as well as in support roles across its marketing, finance and management teams. The brewer also plans to expand its retail estate over the coming months. It currently has two pubs in Greenwich - the Old Brewery and the Greenwich Union.
The expansion will mean that Meantime Brewing Company will be able to make 100,000 hectolitres of its draught and bottled craft beers annually - the equivalent of 1.5 million pints every month.
Nick Miller, chief executive of Meantime Brewing Company, said: "We will be able to produce 28 different types of beer at our new brewery - all using the latest technology to create the perfect brew, every time.
"But we don't want our new space to just be about making beer. We want to open our doors and use our site to welcome the public in and to educate them about the full spectrum of beers they can enjoy - we aim to change the way that drinkers think about their national beverage. The visitors' centre, tasting rooms, tutored tastings and brewery tours are all part of that education philosophy."
The brewery will include a major visitors' centre, a bar and kitchen, as well as an illustrated history of London's brewing heritage. It will also play host to legendary brewer and beer writer Michael Jackson's collection of more than 300 beers from across the globe.
Meantime will use the space to host tutored tastings for the public as well as its trade customers. There will also be beer and food events hosted at the centre with the aim of demonstrating the wide range of tastes that beer can deliver and educating the public about pairing.
Miller, a former managing director of brewing giant SAB Miller in the UK, added: "At the moment, the market is dominated by pretty homogenous big-brand lagers, ales and stouts.
"We want to take visitors behind the scenes at our new brewery and show them alternatives to the mass-produced products available today. We aim to inform about the ingredients, our craft brewing skills and how the latest technology can be best used. We've chosen to make London the home of Meantime Brewing because it used to be the brewing capital of the world and we want to pioneer a movement that will see us regain that mantle."
Meantime's new brewery is the latest in an explosion of new brewing operations in London, with 21 having opened in the past four years.
By Neil Gerrard
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