AB InBev-owned Goose Island Beer Co has opened its first European brewpub in Shoreditch, east London, as the struggle to dominate the capital’s increasingly valuable ‘craft’ beer market heats up.
Brewpubs have become the latest front in this conflict. Brewdog opened in Tower Hill earlier this year, and the Kirin-owned Australian brand Little Creatures is expected to follow suit soon in King’s Cross. There are also strong rumours that Sierra Nevada is aiming to open a brewpub in London.
This is the second attempt by AB InBev to establish a beachhead for the brand in London after its Vintage Ale House in Balham closed earlier this year. The company also owns Camden Town Brewery.
The brewpub, on the corner of Shoreditch High Street and Great Eastern Street, had its soft opening last week. It has 12 keg and two cask beers on the bar, with includes four beers from other breweries. There is also a line using the Rack AeriAle system, which allows beers to be poured directly from the barrel.
The interior is not unlike a Brewdog bar, with exposed pipes and neon signage. Andrew Walton, who previously worked at Fourpure, has taken up the mantle of brewer and the 5hl brewkit sits behind glass at the back of the venue.
‘I know London has always held a special place in Goose Island’s history, and I can’t wait for us to make our mark on British beer culture,’ says Walton, who recently spent a month training with Goose Island in Chicago.