After 350 years as an independent brewery, Fuller’s, the last stalwart of the old-school London brewing scene, is to be scooped up by Japanese brewery Asahi for £250million.
Asahi will take over the beer business while Fuller’s will follow the same path Young’s, London’s other big formerly family-run brewery, took when they sold out in 2006, and concentrate on the pub and hospitality arm of the business. Fuller’s says that part of the business generates around 87% of the companies profits anyway.
The brewing scene in London has undergone a massive change in a very short time. I’ve been coming to London off and on for around 10 years now and when I first started coming here, craft beer was non-existent. They didn’t even know what a carbonated ale was! Now there are over 2000 breweries in the city – the highest number since the 1930s. No doubt, Fuller’s with their old-school traditional approach to brewing was finding the going tough in the current climate and decided to get out while they could.
The fact that they sold out to such a bastion for bland beer as Asahi, has some of Fuller’s fans a little miffed. The shareholders, on the other hand, are laughing all the way to the bank. The share price was up 20% on the news.