17 June 2016

Meantime to partner with craftsmen for pop-up bar

Clever marketing. London’s craft brewer Meantime has partnered with various designers and craftsmen in six UK cities over a six-month period in a bid to grow its presence outside the UK’s capital.

Accompanied by a social media campaign, the craftsmen are to produce various objects and decorations that would be found in a pub – with all six being exhibited in a pop-up bar in London in October.

Media say that each of the makers will get six weeks to finish their objects, the same amount of time Meantime ages its beers for, while the brewers will create a beer for each of the craftsmen at the same time.

The first stint has seen Manchester furniture designer Liam Hopkins produce a bar stool inspired by the shape of brewing tanks, and finished with a material made from brewers’ waste. After Manchester, the project will move to Glasgow, where Marion Parola and Yvonne Elliott will be creating a wallpaper, featuring a pattern suggestive of hop flowers. Next it will progress to Leeds (a neon bar sign), Bristol (a lager glass) and Brighton (a barman’s waistcoat), before returning to London, where the sign painter Ged Palmer will produce an outdoor pub sign.

The reason the project appears to be so drawn-out is that “time” is the message. Meantime’s brand describes time as the “fifth ingredient” of its beers. Moreover it refers to Meantime’s brewery in Greenwich - the location of the Prime Meridian.

After seeing steady growth in and around London over the past decade, Meantime was keen to grow its presence in other UK cities. It is currently in the process of being bought by Asahi, after it was sold to SABMiller in May 2015.

I cannot help but see the influence of SABMiller behind Meantime’s design project. It was in 2009 when SABMiller tried to promote its Italian beer brand Peroni by partnering with the designer Antonio Berardi – he of the heel-less stiletto shoe – to produce an exclusive fashion collection. At the same time Peroni embarked on a series of pop-up stores – Emporio Peroni – and bars.

Whether these design-ventures boosted the sales of the beer we shall never know. Mind you, the Peroni beer throughout remained the same. Meantime, being a craft brewer, is launching a series of bespoke beers for its designers. Perhaps they will do the trick?

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