North London’s Beavertown Brewery has today revealed its plans to open a brewery and taproom within the newly developed stadium of Premier League soccer team Tottenham Hotspur. The new stadium is located adjacent to its previous location on Tottenham High Road, around two miles away from Beavertown’s home on the Mill Mead Industrial Estate. The brewery relocated to its current site in Tottenham Hale from its original home in Hackney in 2015 as it sought to expand capacity.
The new 61,500-seat stadium—which cost a reported £850 million ($1.1 billion U.S.)—is expected to open at the start of the new English soccer season this August. The brewery will be one of a number of high end features not previously seen within a major UK sporting venue, including its own cheese room.
WHY IT MATTERS
Beavertown’s social presence has been uncharacteristically coy compared to its typically brash and vibrant rapport these past few days. The shift in attitude arrived as it faces a tide of industry rumor in the wake of an as-yet-unconfirmed report that Heineken is looking to acquire a 49% stake in the business for a reported £100 million ($133M). On May 18, Tottenham Hotspur revealed that Heineken would be the official beer partner at the new ground.
“The opportunity to work with Tottenham Hotspur to deliver the Premier League’s first microbrewery is something of which we are immensely proud,” Beavertown founder Logan Plant—son of Led Zeppelin’s Robert and avid supporter of Wolverhampton Wanderers (itself promoted to the Premier League this season)—wrote in a statement on his brewery’s blog. “The partnership with Spurs offers us an amazing opportunity to get our beers in to the hands of a new audience, the thirsty football fan masses, which in turn gives us the ability to grow our Beavertown fanbase.”
Plant also revealed that Beavertown would be collaborating on an exclusive beer with the club that will be made available to purchase throughout the stadium, along with its Neck Oil Session IPA. The taproom itself, located on the southeast end of the grounds, will also serve a number of one-off brews and special releases.
“To have the opportunity to work with an organisation such as Beavertown who are headquartered less than two miles away from our stadium makes this relationship extra special,” Tottenham Hotspur Director of Operations said in a press statement. “The unique concept of a Microbrewery and Taproom inside a football stadium encapsulates our desire to innovate at our new home as part of our ambition to offer all our guests a unique matchday experience.”
Beavertown will join a small host of UK breweries working with their local football club. Magic Rock brews Hat Trick, the official beer for its local Premier League side Huddersfield Town, while Thornbridge launched a beer in collaboration with Championship (English soccer’s second tier) side Sheffield Wednesday in September 2017.
Breweries in the U.S. have also looked to garner traction with sports fans as they seek to enter new markets. In August 2016, New Belgium donated $4.3M to local Fort Collins college football team the Colorado State Rams and opened a pitch-side beer garden within the new stadium. Also in late 2016, Sierra Nevada announced a 10-year partnership with basketball team the Sacramento Kings. And in July 2017, GBH revealed that Denmark’s Mikkeller would be building a brewery within the stadium of Baseball’s New York Mets.
It remains to be seen if Tottenham fans will take to the new venture and in turn if fans of North London rivals Arsenal will turn against Beavertown. A veritable flood of fans took to social media to weigh in on the news, with one Tottenham fan tweeting that it was “awesome to see local companies involved in such a big way.” Another aired some grievances with the club, tweeting “we don't care about beer & cheese. Sign quality players and get rid of the trash.”
Despite the UK being home to more than 2,000 breweries, craft beer still only accounts for around 5% of its beer market. This move by Beavertown sets a new precedent for British craft beer as it seeks to grow its way out of a niche and acquire more of that remaining 95%.