London Fields

London Fields Brewery plans to roll out a new core range of beer into the mults, following its acquisition last year by Carlsberg

The brewery, which relaunched at last week’s Craft Beer Rising festival, hopes to land a four-strong lineup in 330ml cans in UK supermarkets by this summer, including Hackney Hopster pale ale (4.2% abv), 3 Weiss Monkeys wheat beer (5% abv), as well as a lager and an IPA.

Off-trade would be “a very important channel” London Fields new MD Martin Entwistle told The Grocer. “The drinker in the off-trade is very exploratory and will buy beers they’ve never heard of. And we think our artwork will really play well in the off-trade. We have our own artist, a local guy from Hackney. Every time we do a beer he will draw us a character.”

Entwistle said London Fields did not see itself competing “in the short term” with the likes of BrewDog or Heineken-owned Lagunitas. “We’re already starting to see the price points come down on them, and they’re going into some bigger pack formats. We will get to that at some point, but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves. Right now we just want the beer in the right places.

‘Pleasure-inducing beers’

London Fields’ beer is currently contract brewed by the nearby Truman’s brewery while new production kit is installed at its Hackney Home. It last week announced the appointment of Talfryn Provis-Evans as head brewer. He said London Fields was looking to work “with local breweries, scientists and other creative minds to explore new collaborations and produce some high-intensity, pleasure-inducing beers”.

Entwistle added London Fields would look to develop an ongoing range of seasonal and limited-edition beers as well as tie-ups with other brewers - although its core range would be the prime focus

“We are in this for the long term,” he said. “Ultimately consumers will decide how big the brand gets, we’re not going into this to chase volume. The priority is getting great beer and getting it looking great. We were very clear that we were not going to let Carlsberg sell any of it until we had beer that we are happy with, and we’re delighted with it.”

Craft beer has helped Carlsberg see a considerable global upsurge in sales of its speciality and non-alcoholic beer portfolio over the past year in the face of UK volumes down 6%, according its latest financial results.

Other big brewers’ interest in trendy brands shows no sign of calming, with London ale stalwart Fuller’s last week announcing the acquisition of popular Sussex craft brewer Dark Star for an undisclosed sum. In November, Heineken bought a 49% stake in Brixton Brewery.